THE BLESSING OF A CHILD... The spice to my life
"Dr. Hassan I am ready when you are, but first I need to do a photoshoot"
Those were my exact words as I settled on the sofa with my 4kg stomach in front of my doctor on that hot Wednesday afternoon in Akodo General Hospital.
As I handed her the scan result, she hurriedly put on her glasses to scan through the sheet, but not before peeping through her lens to give me one "professor kind of look"
"And what exactly is photoshoot en Pepper?" She asked
I burst into laughter, clapped my two hands, and placed them just below my breast, using my massive stomach as good support.
"Ha! Doc, who on earth doesn't know what a photoshoot is? It is simply taking pictures. Yes, I want to take pictures with my baby bump and splash it all over social media and for memory sakes too"
"You see why I call you Pepper" she replied, "you know all the happenings around town. me I am old school jor"
"Yes o, Doc you are first-grade old-school just like my mother, and that is why I am working very hard to bring you both out from the 12th century to 21st Century where everyone else is" I replied.
"What can I do to you Now en, you this Pepper girl. Please leave us in our 12th century like that jor" We both ended up laughing out loud.
By this time Dr. Hassan was done reading through my scan result. She took off her glasses, placed them on the table, and reclined her seat. She rubbed both hands on her face and took a deep breath. (thankfully it wasn't the Covid era)
She picked up the scan again to read through, almost like she didn't get the message at the first read.
" Rachel" she began
"Gengen! Doctor Hassan didn't call me Pepper this time"
"Rachel we will have to bring your baby out as soon as possible as any further delay might be fatal to you and the baby. With the result I have here, what looked like there was a little chance of the marginal placenta previa expanding to creating space in the cervix for the baby to come out has now moved permanently to complete placenta previa and is completely blocked, and labor is most likely to start any moment from now, and that won't go well. I love challenges but I will not like to take any risks with the life of my patient, especially not even with you my Pepper. Do worry, I will call out the entire team for you and I will be right by your side all through the process and when you are out We will do that Pepper photoshoot and splash the photos all over social media " we both ended up laughing again.
Dr. Hassan always had a way of making mountains look like plain grounds.
***Let's go for a quick break. Shall we? Lol.
Ok, let me do small doctor work first because I will refer here henceforth.
What is placenta Previa?
Placenta previa occurs when a baby's placenta partially or totally covers the mother's cervix which is the outlet for the uterus. SO, basically, it blocks your cervix and is expected to shift when labor is about to start. But because it won't move and it doesn't have life, when labour starts, the baby starts pushing to come out but the passage is blocked by a lifeless placenta which is already bleeding by now. So lifeless placenta blocking the baby's exit plus a struggling baby, plus a bleeding mother equals disaster.
what are the risks involved?
Placenta previa can cause severe bleeding during pregnancy and delivery. If you have placenta previa, you might bleed throughout your pregnancy and during your delivery. The doctor will usually recommend avoiding activities that might cause contractions, including having sex, douching, using tampons, or engaging in activities that can increase your risk of bleeding, such as running, squatting, and jumping
You'll need a C-section to deliver your baby if the placenta previa doesn't resolve.
Types of Previa
- Complete placenta previa refers to the situation in which the placenta completely covers the opening from the womb to the cervix.
- Partial placenta previa refers to the placenta that partially covers the cervical opening (since the cervical opening is not dilated until time for delivery approaches, bleeding may occur after the cervix has begun to dilate).
- Marginal placenta previa refers to a placenta that is located adjacent to, the placenta which is within 2 cm of the cervix but doesn’t physically cover it.
- Low-lying placenta or low placenta has been used to refer both to placenta previa and marginal placenta previa.
- Anterior and posterior placenta previa is sometimes used after ultrasound examination is performed to further delineate the exact position of the placenta within the uterine cavity.
Bright red vaginal bleeding without pain during the second half of pregnancy is the main sign of placenta previa. Some women also have contractions. However, In many women diagnosed with placenta previa early in their pregnancies, the placenta previa resolves. As the uterus grows, it might increase the distance between the cervix and the placenta. The more the placenta covers the cervix and the later in the pregnancy that it remains over the cervix, the less likely it is to resolve.
The exact cause of placenta previa is unknown.
Placenta previa is more common among women who:
- Have had a baby
- Have scars on the uterus, such as from previous surgery, including cesarean deliveries, uterine fibroid removal, and dilation and curettage
- Had placenta previa with a previous pregnancy
- Are carrying more than one fetus
- Are age 35 or older
- Are of a race other than white
- Use cocaine
Bleeding. Severe, possibly life-threatening vaginal bleeding (hemorrhage) can occur during labor, delivery, or in the first few hours after delivery.
Now that we have a little understanding of what placenta previa is. "My Lord may I continue my story. Lol
I was 16 weeks pregnant when the first scan revealed that I had low lying placenta previa and that was how the journey started. Subsequent scans will later show all the other types of the Previa at the interval, then at the third trimester it became Marginal placenta previa with the 2cm window and I was hopeful (now you know why Dr. Hassan said we were hoping it would change)
Did you also see all the risk factors? The only option that could be a reason was the fact that I have had a baby and I am black. Please since when did having a child and being black become a crime? Now you are beginning to see how angry and sad I was and all the "God why me?"
The angrier and sadder I became, the easier it was for God to remind me of His goodness to me.
Now take a look at the risk, did you see all that activity listed there? I did all and So much more but not a single drop of blood or even tiredness was associated with the pregnancy. The amount of work I did all through that period was hell. I was head of a Nursery School at that time and my classroom was upstairs, plus I always had to come downstairs to supervise other teachers and staff. Not to talk of being a member of the management board. Meetings, notes, and more meetings. There were no off days, even on my antenatal days I have to return to work and continue the struggle. I remember one day, I got back from antenatal and crashed straight into an unending meeting. We sat for hours and my baby began to kick. It was so intense that the person seated across me in the room could see my tummy movement from afar. I was so scared, I thought I was having a miscarriage.
Aside from work, I had Matana (my almost two years old daughter at the time) to carter for and carry everywhere with me and she had massive weight (something a person with my pregnancy condition shouldn't be doing)
*Phew! Wipes sweat off my forehead*
So yes, despite the risk, God kept me. In His very words, "you may have to undergo a cesarean section at the end of this journey, but you will have the most beautiful pregnancy, delivery, and recovery ever".
And that was why not for once did I utter a prayer for God to change anything as Papa Matana had suggested. Ah! We fought over this. He said "all you need to do is ask God to change whatever it is" But I didn't have that kind of faith. All I wanted was to be alive and well.
Was I scared? Yes, in short very scared.
Did I have faith? Yes, I had faith in God that He will keep me alive and well.
Whether He will help me sneeze out the baby as it happened with Matana (I will share her testimony in a subsequent post), or I will have to be cut open like a maalu in the abattoir, I didn't care. My only prayer was "God, please keep me alive and well. And oh, my snapback body, yes Lord, please bring back my snapback body like it never left"
And He did answer.
Wednesday 4th April 2018, at exactly 1:39 pm I checked into the hospital ward waiting for my elective cesarean section for the next day. And oh, I got bounced from the ward just before nightfall and I had to hang somewhere outside waiting for the hospital to fix a space for me till I got tired, and when I saw that it was looking more like I was going to die from backache than the forced labour we are trying to prevent. I made just a phone call at midnight and before I was done talking, all the staff on duty came falling at my feet. (You see this country en, God has to save us from this "you must know a man at the" syndrome")Lol
|Waiting to get a bed space... Taking selfies and answering work calls in between|
yes I was scared no doubt
And I also thought it was fun to have experience of both vaginal birth and cesarean birth, So let's go cut her open. Lol
The following day came and Dr. Hassan pulled her entire team for me as promised. (She is a consultant and had gone home after the previous day and I didn't want to call her about my suffering the previous night so the nurses won't have bad belle for me. Too much African Magic and witch nurse giving me the wrong injection) Lol
You would think I was one medical director with the way everyone was all over me (you know I love the attention)
Then, the process started with the team explaining every single step (oga afraid dey catch me, no dey tell me any medical jargons again jor)
The process was going on fine until I began to slip away.
My plus was failing. I could feel it myself. Then the doctor (can't remember his name but bobo ode fine gan) held my hands and began to tell me some beautiful nonsense (I like love sha). I think he was trying to get me to my happy place (you know as they do in oyinbo movies), then he mentioned school gist and I almost passed out. Yes, all I could remember in my university days was a useless he-goat lecturer that wouldn't let my friend and I graduate in peace because he wanted sex. He didn't get it, we had an extra year (all I want to do now is song Ric Hassani's "thunder fire you", to him but it's Easter so I hold my peace)
Then we talked about passion, what I wanted to do in life to affect my world. I remember this today and I feel nostalgic because SemesNooks was in that conversation. Even though I did not know it was going to take this form. We also talked about writing my life stories into short films (We dey come for road)
By now, the most beautiful girl in the entire universe is out.
|My Ari Sugar Sugar at birth|
And it ended in praise.
Dear Tribe, as you join me in celebrating my most precious gift today, I want you to know that safe delivery is the only delivery where mother and child are both alive and well. Whether vaginal, cesarean or however doesn't really matter.
The rate of maternal mortality and neonatal death is still very much on the high side, especially in developing countries like Nigeria. We need to keep creating awareness for educating pregnant women. If a Cesarean sections has been recommended for delivery please trust your doctors and follow through with the process. There is no need to render any form of cast and bind prayers. Safety is of the Lord, and that's all you should pray Him.
I am so grateful, I made that decision to save my life and that of my precious one.
The recovery and snapback were the fastest and best so far.
|ready to go home five days after birth|
|Back to work, two months postnatal|
Child delivery through the cesarean section is not a crime neither is it a sin. It doesn't make you less of a woman.
What do we need to do? Get information. Whether you are pregnant or not, planning to get pregnant or not. Be informed, and from the right source too.
I met a woman in the hospital who shared her story with me. She lost her baby and almost died in the process of trying to prove that she was a strong woman. She had placenta previa too, but a traditional prayer house (whatever that means) told her they could pray it away and make her give birth like the Hebrew women. Hebrew woman my foot!
You see faith en, it works in a different dimension. Someone said "upon all your Christianity God still let me do CS" Here is what I will say to that " God did not say you will not have tribulations but He said "In this world, you will have tribulations but be of good cheer because you have overcome"
And His plans for us are only of good.
Only the best is reserved for us and that was why God sent me Ari.
Smart, calm, and calculated.
|My Ishan princess at one year old|
I always joke that my life was probably too boring, So God took pity on me and sent Ari down because she keeps me on my toes always.
She can be fire and ice at the same time
|And yes, I did have that photoshoot with Matana in it!|
Happy birthday to the most beautiful girl in the world.
Matilda Ebehireme ArianaThe president of ginger!