Grief is a complex process that has no quick fix – you have to be kind to yourself and allow yourself to grieve. This is what Triza Mukuhi learnt when she lost her newborn baby. She narrates to MWAURA KARAGU the harrowing experience and her journey to healing.
Triza, We have tried and done our best but it was not possible to save her.’’ I felt a sharp pain in my heart as soon as the doctor said those words. I couldn’t believe that she was gone. I would have given anything to see her alive one more time. My heart broke and tears welled down my cheeks uncontrollably.
“I had carried a not so complicated pregnancy and was hopeful that finally I was going to be a mother. I remember all the crazy ideas and plans I had for my baby way before she was born. I wanted to be the best mother any child would want and give her the best of life so that she doesn’t grow up with a negative perception of disability. I replayed the kind of conversations we would have especially regarding why I wore calipers and walked in clutches. I was prepared to teach her disability from an empowerment point of view.
When the doctor confirmed that indeed I was pregnant sometime in 2017, I knew that it was a dream come true. Earlier, I had fears and lacked adequate and accurate information on my sexual and reproductive health. The information I had come across on sexuality and disability often was negative. Like many other girls with disabilities I was used to people doubting our potential and abilities to an extent I began to doubt myself, my likes and my dislikes.
Therefore getting pregnant was a great way to demystify some myths. Unfortunately, I lost my job at an advanced stage of my pregnancy. Although I was heartbroken by the turn of events, every time I looked at my protruding belly, a ray of hope beamed through and gave me a reason to smile.
My baby was my hope at that point. Without a job, I had no medical cover to continue attending the antenatal clinics that I had begun. Neither could I afford to pay a private doctor anymore.
Luckily I had an NHIF card and when it was almost time for childbirth I sought an NHIF enabled hospital in Nairobi. I was advised to deliver through caesarian section and hours later I woke up to the best news ever; I was a mother to a beautiful baby girl. Later, the nurse informed me that my baby had been taken to the nursery because she had inhaled amniotic fluid. Doctors were working on removing it from her body. Hours later my mother wheeled me to the nursery and for the first time I saw my baby. She was the most beautiful angel I had ever seen. I watched as she clasped her little hands and threw her tiny legs in the air. My heart was filled with joy, I was in love. I always wished to be a mother and now my womanhood was fulfilled. I swore to love my baby from the word go. This joy was however short-lived. When I went to see my baby the following morning, she looked so pale and was less playful. My heart sunk. The nurse on duty assured me all will be well and that her change in demeanor was as a result of the amniotic fluid but that doctors were doing all they could to remove the amniotic fluid from her breathing system. However, as I left the nursery I was apprehensive. Hours later, when I went to see her at the nursery she was convulsing. I alerted the nurse who then called the doctor and after observing her they whisked her away.
I was disturbed. I went to take a rest and fell into a deep sleep. I was woken up by the voice of a nurse telling me that I had lost my baby. In my mind, I thought I was having a bad a dream and woke up in a panic. The doctor confirmed to me that they had actually done their best but they couldn’t save my baby. My heart broke. I was hysterical and inconsolable.
We agreed that the hospital would bury my baby and so I paid the required burial fee. Days later, I was discharged from hospital. Dealing with the trauma of losing my baby was difficult. It didn’t help that when I arrived home some of my friends had brought me gifts for the baby. It was so painful to see these gifts fully aware that my baby was no more.
I questioned God. Why would I lose a baby I wanted so much? What had I done to God to deserve such pain? Why wouldn’t God take me in the place of my baby? I was devastated and disillusioned with life. I began entertaining suicidal thoughts. I just wanted the pain to end.
A friend introduced me to a support group called Still a Mum where I met other women who had gone through the same experience of losing their babies at birth. I attended one-on-one discussions with counselors and group discussions which extended to WhatsApp groups. It was here that I gradually began my healing process. Knowing that I was not alone really helped me. I began having peace of mind and accepting that my baby was gone. I thank God for giving me strength during my most trying moment.I am forever indebted to my family and friends who stood with me during that period.