“Three miscarriages later, my hope lives on”

Wednesday March 18 2020

Joyce Wachira Maina, 30, may have lost three babies, but she has not given up hope of expanding her family. PHOTO| MARTIN MUKANGU

“When I was a young girl, I wrote my book of life. I wanted to be achieved career wise, get married and have two to three children. As I grew up in Eastleigh, I kept tabs with my dreams and aspirations.

“After high school, I went on to study web design and met my husband while in college. Soon after I got a job as a cashier in a Nairobi hotel and rose to branch manager.

It’s my second dream though, which has been a major test. That of having children. In 2009, while 25, I discovered I was pregnant. Though my boyfriend and I were yet to tie the knot, I was excited. I had always known I would be a great mother.

“I informed my boyfriend, and he suggested we move in together. My only condition was that we needed to introduce each other to our families. After the family introductions, we moved in together and waited for the baby.

“The pregnancy was a smooth sail. Nine months later, the labour came in the middle of the night and my mother-in-law who lived not far from us was at hand to ensure I delivered safely.

“At the hospital though, I laboured for more than 12 hours. I was rushed for an emergency Caesarean section. My baby boy, who is now seven, was delivered. That was in August 2010.

“In 2015, with my son now five, we felt it was time to add a little brother or sister to our family. Seven weeks later I discovered I was pregnant. I was over the moon.

“But soon after, I started spotting. At the hospital, the scan revealed the worst. There was no heartbeat and the baby was not growing. The pregnancy could not be saved.

“We have to remove it now,” I remember the gynaecologist telling me. I was so confused. Everything was happening so fast. But then I was bleeding too heavily and there was no way of saving the baby. My womb was flushed.

“That’s was my first miscarriage. Despite my heavy heart, I took it as God’s will. My life returned to normal. Seven months later we tried again. I conceived almost immediately. This time I wanted to be more cautious. I started going to the clinic almost immediately and diligently followed the doctor’s advice. I took supplements, did regular scans and took better care of myself.

“Six months later, I started experiencing severe back pains while at work. I drove myself to the doctor’s in excruciating pain. The doctor indicated I had a bacterial infection. I was expected to normalise and I was released to go home.

“The next morning, I woke up to the sight of blood. I screamed. “God not again!” We rushed to the hospital and the scan revealed that the baby was okay. But on getting examined by the doctor, his gloomy look told it all. I was losing the baby again!

“I had come too far in the pregnancy not to fight for this baby. I was put in an ambulance and taken to Kenyatta Hospital. While there, I begged the doctor to save the baby. There was no other choice. The nurse attending to me told me, “Mum usijali, I will put you in that corner, and pray to God to save the baby.” Unknown to me, the medical staff were aware the baby could not be saved but knew I could not handle the truth.

“That night I gave birth to a still born. My world crushed. I blamed God. Why had He forsaken me? I could not even cry. I just sat there like a zombie. In the car and on my way home my sister put on a certain song. Suddenly, all the emotions of the past few days drowned me. I cried all the way home.

“Soon after I was strong enough to resume work. I left the past and started healing. In 2017, I got pregnant again. Ecstatic, I thought, THIS IS IT! I got an expert gynecologist and I was diagnosed with cervical incompetence. This is a medical condition of pregnancy in which the cervix begins to dilate (widen) and efface (thin) before the pregnancy has reached term.

“The doctor told me that the only way out was for my opening to be stitched. Though the procedure was very expensive, we looked for the money and the procedure was done after 13 weeks.

“At 19 weeks I started bleeding. This time I begged God not to take away my baby. I was anxious for everything to be okay. The doctor advised that I be admitted and be on complete bedrest. Everything was normalising and the doctor was anticipating discharging me the next day.

“That night all hell broke loose. I was in pain and was bleeding heavily. Unknown to me, I was experiencing labour pains. That was my third miscarriage. The baby was gone. My strength was broken. I was broken. “I am sorry,” I whispered to the baby. I felt I had failed. I was to blame. I could not even call my husband to break the news that night. I waited for him until the following morning. I will never forget the look on his face when I told him.

“That was seven months ago. I thank God for the supportive friends who made me heal and turn back to God. I still have not lost hope that God is preparing me for more blessings. I will not give up hope. I wanted to share my story to encourage that woman out there who is looking for a baby: You are not alone.”