It was an uneventful pregnancy. At 38 weeks I was more than ready to bring my 2nd bundle of joy into this world. However, that was the last time anything in my son’s life felt uneventful.
On my due date, I woke up feeling unwell. Later in the day, I experienced a watery discharge so I assumed my water broke. I packed up my hospital bag, dropped my firstborn at my mother’s, and took myself to the hospital. After a lengthy wait at the triage the doctor told me it was too early, she recommended rest and told me to go home with antibiotics in hand. The doctor knows best right? I went back home, however, a few hours later I was not feeling any better and I couldn’t feel my son moving anymore so I went back. This time I was told my son needed to be born immediately and I was rushed to theatre for an emergency C-section.
The next few days felt like an out-of-body experience. When my son was born, he had to be resuscitated then rushed to the NICU. He had compressed the umbilical cord at my cervix and that had blocked his blood and oxygen supply; he had to be on a ventilator for 5 days and in an incubator for another 5 days. I can’t remember how long it was before I got to hold him for the first time. It all felt like it was happening around me and not to me. He had cerebral palsy and was not expected to live past 2 years old.
Here we are, multiple hospitalizations, numerous surgeries, millions of shillings, and 20 years later, we are still here. We continue to be CP warriors. Upon consultation with a neurosurgeon, he has been on anticonvulsants and other medications since birth. Several admissions have been due to pneumonia and other respiratory infections. He needs constant physiotherapy as he has no motor control over his hands and legs. His mouth and hard palate are high arched which has caused much breathing and eating difficulties. He has had a tracheostomy tube inserted by an ENT, as well as a gastrostomy tube which had to be done in tandem with a fundoplication by a general surgeon.
It has been a journey like no other, and somehow he still smiles. How am I? I am stronger and softer all at the same time.