It happened to me: Never give up hope for a baby

By Drum Digital
31 March 2014

After being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, Juanita De Roubaix was told she would probably never have children. When the unexpected happened, she was overcome by emotion. She tells her story:

After being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, Juanita De Roubaix was told she would probably never have children. When the unexpected happened, she was overcome by emotion. She shared her story with Petro-Ann Vlok in July last year:

“The life growing inside of me nothing more than a dot on the sonar screen, but sitting in my gynaecologist’s office at six weeks’ pregnant and seeing my unborn child, a miracle I never thought possible, was so overwhelming I burst into tears.

When I was 18 years old I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, an auto-immune disease in which my immune system attacks my own body. I was told it was unlikely that I could have children. The news hit me hard. After years as a sickly child, going from doctor to doctor, doing test after test, I could finally put a name to my disease, but at the same time it felt like a death sentence.

Initially I rebelled, partying and trying to be like a normal student, but when I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2009 I realised that with my disease I couldn’t afford to live such an unhealthy lifestyle. My thyroid was removed, and as a distraction I threw myself into my psychology studies at the University of the Free State. I married my husband, Jan, that same year.

Then the unexpected happened. In July last year, I felt nauseous in the morning and my beasts felt tender. I took a home-pregnancy test, trying not to get my hopes up, and when it came out positive I screamed so loud I think I almost gave Jan a heart attack. It was such a relief, but I also felt afraid, as if it were too good to be true.

My son, Adrian, was born on 28 March. When I held him in my arms I thought, how could it be that my body, which for most of my life has been wrecked by disease, could give me this gift? He’s such a sweet child. Some days it still feels surreal, like he’s someone else’s child. But he’s my miracle baby.”

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