My mantra in life has always been to marry and give birth early. Finish having my kids by 30 so I enjoy life after that. I will say I have grown up so my mantra has evolved too.
I married just 2 years after I completed school. My husband traveled for his masters just a month after marriage. We weren’t really trying for a child at that time but if I had gotten pregnant we would have thanked God. He was away for 18 months. Retrospectively, I thank God for the space before child birth. It really strengthens the bond in marriage. A work colleague gave me that advice that couples need to know themselves for at least a year or more before deciding on having kids.
When he got back, we were ready for a child. I have a menstrual app which I use to track my menses. I realized my menses had been delaying month after month. I really didn’t put much thought into it. My menses messes up when I am stressed. When I was in secondary school on the mountains, I didn’t menstruate for a full year. It was such a strange feeling.
I decided to go and see the Gynecologist about it since I thought I might be pregnant. That was when I was given a sad news. I was diagnosed with PCOS, Polycystic ovary syndrome. In simple terms it meant I wasn’t ovulating on a monthly basis, there was no release of egg for fertilization to take place. Since the aim was to get pregnant, I started treatment immediately. I took all the necessary medication and prayed to God. Luckily, it was the holy month of Ramadan, so it became my main prayer topic to God. Just a month after treatment, I got pregnant! I found out I was 2 weeks pregnant and I was elated!
Just before that time, I had applied for some roles at work. I needed to grow in my career. I got the role just about the time I was a month pregnant. My boss was a little worried since I was going into a high pressure role. I told her, I just couldn’t miss the opportunity. I took the new role and my pregnancy journey was a very smooth one except some few UTIs. I didn’t really change much for the first 6 months. I am busty so it was easy hiding my pregnancy for a while. There was only one false alarm throughout. A possible placenta previa but it fortunately it turned to be a problem with the imaging.
My baby showed the potential to be a big baby right from the beginning. I had to take a glucose screening test at the early stages and thankfully gestational diabetes was ruled out. I was always a possible candidate for Caesarean section if I crossed the 4kg mark. I even went for a 2nd opinion to confirm the weight since it was approaching the 4kg mark.
I worked till delivery and took my maternity leave on Wednesday when I had to go for my 39+ weeks checkup. My doctor traveled just a week before so I had to go to a new doctor. My usual appointment date was on Thursday but the new doctor was only available on Wednesday. Before I got to the hospital, everything looked fine. The 1st issue that was flagged was pressure. It was high. I am one person whose pressure is mostly at the lower end of the normal range. I was also having headache and a little problem with my sight. The doctor did a protein test on me and it came back positive. All these confirmed I had pre-eclampsia. I was shocked and started researching immediately about it. It never showed till the end. Even when my feet got swollen and all the protein test was done, I was always negative.
I was already full term so the best option was to be induced to deliver immediately or CS. My doctor was shocked I was calm about CS. I told her what mattered most to me was the safe delivery of my baby. The method wasn’t my concern. She said most Ghanaians behave like CS was a curse and a taboo.
I had never needed to take IV fluids before. When they set up the needle on my hand, it was soo painful. I kept complaining till it was adjusted for me. I witnessed the attitude of Ghanaians to CS while waiting to be triaged. Praying against it like it was a sin and a plague. We need to do better than that. My triage began immediately. Magnesium sulfate was given immediately to assist manage my pressure to avoid seizures. It has a burning sensation. Next, a catheter was fixed. It is the most uncomfortable feeling ever to pass urine through that. Pressure medication was also given. I was given a medication under my tongue to induce the labor. Everything was going smoothly.
My husband had to rush home to go for my bags. My mother and mother in law were both called and told what was happening. My mother decided to go home and prepare my favorite meal. My siblings also came around. I began dilating gradually and then the labor pains began. It was unbearable. I was given an injection every hour to prevent seizures due to my pressure. Pressure reading was also done every hour. Around 8pm, after the injection, it took a while for me to stop bleeding. I also noticed blood in my IV bag of fluids. I pointed it out to the midwife on duty but she said it was nothing to worry about..
Two non-stress test was done for my baby. Everything was fine. I was glad.
Around 3am, the midwife came and broke my water and I had dilated till 6cm. The doctor came not long after and raised a flag with the blood. A coagulation test was done and it was found that my blood wasn’t clotting. The condition is known as DIC, Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation. CS was the only way forward. My husband and sister were in my ward. They prepared my things for the midwife. I was wheeled into the pre-theatre room and I needed plasma in my blood before I could have my CS. I had bloated to the extent that my vein couldn’t be seen. My plasma wasn’t going through the IV fast enough. New IV path had to be created and pressure applied to ensure the plasma was entering my blood stream. I had almost 5 people around me. I couldn’t even keep track of time. I was finally wheeled into the theatre. Anaesthesia was administered by the anaesthesiologist. That one was directly into my spine. My doctor was the only female in the theatre. They were all male. I had to be seated and my lower part was made numb. A partition was placed so I couldn’t view what was happening below. I couldn’t feel anything. In less than 10 minutes, I heard the wailing of a baby. The process was swift. Just a cut and the baby was pulled out by two people. I was losing consciousness in between. I had to prompt them each time to engage in conversation to keep me conscious. After confirming the sex of the baby, I was allowed to go to sleep . The time of delivery was 6:38am.
I slept and woke up after 1pm. My baby was nicely clothed and lying beside me in his cot. I couldn’t get up. The pain was unbearable. You can’t go to the ward till you can move the lower part of the body. The anaesthesia had to wear off a little. My baby began to cry around 2pm and I tried to breastfeed him but I couldn’t. It was very agonizing. The midwife eventually came for him and gave him some formula. I wasn’t happy with their decision but in hindsight, it was the best decision in that moment. The pain I was in was unbearable and I could have injured myself in the process. I still went ahead to exclusively breastfeed for 4 months.
Today, both baby and I are fine and healthy. I believe having PCOS isn’t the end of your fertility journey, I am a living example of that fact. I pray this story gives someone out there the hope they need.