I told my doctor to remove my ‘useless’ womb
For years, I had been told that I would never be able to have children of my own. I struggled with prolonged heavy menses, which were attributed to hormonal imbalance. When I lost my first pregnancy in February 2010, no one could explain to me exactly what had caused it. I just thought to myself may be it might have been triggered by the long travels. I had been on the road travelling for a long time. I had gone to Bungoma from Nairobi for a wedding and travelled back to Nairobi immediately after. That weekend had also been crazy busy. This, I told myself, could have resulted to the miscarriage,” recalls Florence Khaemba who works as a customer care agent in Nairobi.
To date, she has no idea what really happened. When she lost her second pregnancy in August 2017, the medics told her it was due to hormonal imbalance. She never asked questions hence, she kept on trying to conceive.
“In May 2018, I lost a third pregnancy. This one nearly killed me. I was so excited since out of all the previous ones, this is the only one I even knew I was pregnant before losing it. I was shattered,” she says.
Balancing my hormones
“ After the doctor had done a Dilation and Curettage (D&C), a procedure to remove tissue from the uterus, he took the sample for analysis. Once the results came out, I was informed that I had a condition called hypothyroidism where my body wasn’t producing enough hormones to be able to function properly. Hence, I began treatment,” she reveals.
At the start of 2022, Florence wrestled with thoughts of adopting a baby during her birthday.
However, God had a different plan. He gave her a positive pregnancy test.
She offers: “After going through treatment for hypothyroidism, my menses sort of regularised. The number of days reduced tremendously. This went on for almost 13 months. The doctor I saw at that moment was good and gentle with me. He explained to me what I was suffering from, how to manage it and how to overcome it. That was how we made it through.”
There were several options suggested for her to become a mum. “For starters, I had the idea to adopt. Just when I had seriously initiated the process, I received good news that I had already conceived. Also, my sister had at some point offered to be my surrogate, but I wasn’t ready at that time. Then came the idea of In vitro fertilization (IVF) and I thank God my employer finally gave in to our requests and negotiated for at least one round of IVF to be included in the medical cover. All these options were made available, but I thank God I did not have to go through any of them. I got my precious gem naturally,” Florence says.
She conceived in March 2022 and got a baby a day after the World Cup finals in December. According to Florence, it has been an incredible five months of motherhood, with new experiences each day.
“As a first time mum, there is always something to learn each day. We have cried together with the baby, especially on the first day he got vaccinated and I felt my ear ripping apart when he cried and nothing seemed to calm him down. We have stayed awake on a few occasions simply because he didn’t want to sleep and I had to stay awake and play with him. Did I mention the night time snacking? Yes, I have to keep up with his feeding urges at night. It is not easy, but I got the grace to do this because it is worth it,” she explains.
She, however, admits that at some point, she felt like giving up on becoming a mother.
Florence opines: “After suffering the third miscarriage, I remember telling my doctor to remove my uterus since it was useless. The good thing is that he refused. I wouldn’t be called Mama K as most of my friends do call me now. I had a difficult pregnancy. I literally threw up till the last minute. I couldn’t take any supplements, or any pregnancy meds. I had been given folic acid, which I couldn’t take. Ferrolic had the same reaction and biofolic was even worse. The vomiting, coughing, coupled with pressure from work and the thought that I was doing this all by myself made me almost lose it. I’m glad I did not slip into depression.”
She is grateful for the support her sister accorded to her. “This girl is a great blessing. She was with me every single step of the way; from the time I was about 10 weeks pregnant until my baby was six weeks old. She was with me in all my clinic visits, endured all the scares I had that led me to the emergency room, and in every bad morning and evening. On the delivery bed, she was by my side. She literally held my hand and helped me breathe through the contractions.
This girl literally slept on the hospital couch waiting on me during labour and when I couldn’t do it anymore and all my strength was gone after about 36 hours of active labour and the doctor saying we had to go through the knife, we cried together. She offered me the strength she had in her,” she explains.
“My sister in-law was my other source of strength. We were expectant at the same time and our cravings were almost similar. I also have friends who could not stop checking on me. They even came to help me cheer for my World Cup team while in labour. That was my support team which I will always be grateful for.”
In the few months she has been a mum they have taught her patience and the purest form of love. Florence offers: “Imagine trying to calm down a baby who can’t talk and you are expected to know exactly what to do and when to do it. I was introduced to a different kind of love that I never knew existed. That kind of love you are very willing to sacrifice anything just to preserve it. Another thing I learnt is that nothing comes before the baby except God. I can easily admit that I have perfected the art of sleeping with an eye open even though I am a very light sleeper. I never knew just how over protective I was until my baby came.”
For any woman struggling to get a child, Florence says everything happens for a reason.
“It will be insensitive of me not to acknowledge the fact that it is one difficult journey; it is physically and emotionally draining to be at the waiting stage. But all in all, Gods time is the best. Try to focus on something else and when the time is right, things will just fall into place,” she says.