Heigh ho! Heigh ho!
It's on vacation I go,
So no posting for 2 weeks
So here's a looong post.
(Sung to the tune of Heigh ho! from the movie Snow White and the 7 dwarfs)
A Gift from God (part 1)
Husband and wife, both in their early 40s were enjoying marital bliss. They were blessed with 2 children, a boy aged 5 and a girl aged 8, when one day they were confronted with a positive result on the home pregnancy kit. There were no doubts that they would keep the child, even though their risks of a having a down syndrome child was very high.
Wife thought: Previous 2 pregnancies were a piece of cake - no morning sickness, no cravings, everything went smoothly. So this one should be the same.
But it was not to be. It wasnt only morning sickness that she suffered but also afternoon and night sickness. It would strike any time and anywhere. Her kids called her the merlion!! She could not eat, nor drink as she liked. During the ultrasound scan, they could count the baby's fingers and toes, and they knew it was going to be a girl. Based on tests done, the gynae confirmed that there was no risk of a down syndrome child. She even told them that the baby would be a big baby at birth - at least bigger than the average baby.
Everything was fine up to gestation week 28. Son was hospitalised for a chest infection. Wife subsequently came down with a nagging cough that refused to go away. Wife grew bigger and bigger. Passer-bys thought she was carrying twins! At the 32 week scan, the gynae noticed something wasn't right. The baby had curved femurs (thigh bone)!! Previous scans did not show that problem at all. Also, the amniotic fluid level was very high. They suspected that she was suffering from gestational diabetes. So a series of tests were started. But the results were all negative - she did not have diabetes - never had a history of it as well.
The gynae started doing her research on the curved femur. This is the first time she had encountered such a thing mid-way thru a pregnancy! She referred the wife to her other gynae friends for a review and opinion. No one knew what was wrong. This was a first for all of them too! They suspected dwarfism or some genetic disorder. But the couple had no family history of it, and why mid-way through the pregnancy did it rear its ugly head!
This marked the start of a series of teleconference calls between the couple and the gynae. They discussed all the possible scenarios and problems that could be ahead. The gynae suggested that the couple could change gynaes to the head of OBGYN at a governement hospital, her friend, just in case the baby faced problems at birth and required long term hospitalisation. The gynae started preparing the wife for the possible consequences, including counselling her and preparing her for the possibility of losing the child not long after birth.
The couple cried in private, but put up a brave front for their two children who were eagerly awaiting the arrival of their little sister. After much consideration, they decided that they would stick with their current gynae and the unknown medical bill that they would face at the private hospital. Their fear: the bureaucracy at the Government run hospital, the long waits and the ability to mobilise specialists as and when needed. They just had to do all that they could for their unborn child. They were not going to change horses mid-stream. They just prayed for the best, and left it in God's hands.
Everywhere the wife went, people told her that she would "pop" anytime soon - but it was a good 8 weeks to Expected delivery date. Her amniotic fluid level grew and grew. The gynae advised that as soon as contractions were felt, (never mind how far apart they were) they were to proceed immediately to hospital. Her fear was that should the water bag break, with the high levels of amniotic fluid, the baby would be delivered very quickly. Also an arm or leg could be in the way, making subsequent delivery difficult and dangerous!!
The couple fretted. The hospital was right in the middle of the orchard road shopping belt and it was pre-christmas shopping season. Imagine being caught in a jam on the way to the hospital!!
At week 34, the wife felt contractions and the couple made their way to the hospital. The gynae felt it was too early for the baby to be delivered. The lungs and other organs were not fully developed, and the child could face life-long medical problems. After much consultation, they decided that they would inject the fetus with a drug that could help develop the baby's lungs, before tapping on the amniotic fluid. This tapping procedure was meant to delay labour!. But, it could also induce labour! But should that happen, at least the baby would have lungs which were better developed, and would give her a better chance of survival. The injection was given later in the evening. Miraculously, the contractions stopped. The doctor then decided against performing the procedure of tapping the amniotic fluids. The wife was issued with orders to completely rest in bed for the rest of her pregnancy, and to minimise walking.
The couple searched for a name for their soon-to-be born child. But their son insisted on a particular name. When the couple looked up the meaning of the name given by the son it meant:"A gift from God". What could be more appropriate. They decided to go with it.
At week 36, the water bag broke. Fortunately, it was at 3am in the morning. The Lord was watching over them. There were no traffic jams to contend with as the couple made their way to the hospital. However, there were no contractions. The wife was monitored as soon as she arrived in hospital. After 12 hours in hospital, at about 3pm, the gynae felt that they could not wait anymore. Doing so would endanger the baby's life. She put the wife on a contactions-inducing drug. In a fairly short time, the baby was delivered, with the paediatrician in attendance. Not long after birth, the baby was whisked off for a series of tests and x-rays.
The baby, was delivered on 10 Dec 2004. She weighed 3 kg at birth, a good birth weight despite being close to 5 weeks pre term. They could not find anything wrong with her, except for her thigh bone which did not appear normal. Would the child be handicapped for the rest of her life? What caused it? No one knew. After 2 days in hospital, both mother and child were given the green light to return to the comforts of their home, much to everyone's relief.
....to be continued...