In 1997 I found out I was pregnant while living in the United Kingdom. My husband and I were engaged to be married. I was in a lot of pain constantly and bleeding and was told by the local GP in our area to “sit it out", saying I was "probably having a miscarriage”.
2 weeks later and really ill I was rushed into emergency and it was found I had an ectopic pregnancy. The pregnancy was already 8 weeks along and they had to remove 1 of my tubes. It was a terribly emotional time as I had no family in the UK and was offered no counselling.
We got married in December 1999 and I was intent on having another baby as soon as possible. It was not to be and after many years of tests, holistic treatments and medications, I underwent my first IVF cycle in the UK. This was unfortunately also unsuccessful.
"I was, at last, pregnant!"
We came back to South Africa at the end of 2003 and I underwent my next IVF cycle the following year. My result was a very low positive and I was so devastated, the doctor said there was not much chance it would work.
2 weeks later and my results kept climbing... and I was, at last, pregnant! When I went for my first scan there were 2 sacs – TWINS!
A week later, I started bleeding in a shopping centre, heavily, and was in floods of tears. I phoned my husband and we went straight to the clinic. They found there was a blood clot next to the one sac, the other was gone... And if the blood clot outgrew the remaining one, it would be suffocated.
I lay in hospital for a week, praying. My remaining baby clung on and grew and grew – and I finally experienced the great joy of pregnancy!
When I was 29 weeks I had terrible pains and went to see my gynae, who admitted me into hospital and put me on drugs to stop the labour which I was in. I lay in hospital for 4 weeks – over New Year 2004 – and my gorgeous boy Zack was born at 33 weeks.
I was so overwhelmed. After all this I now had a teeny tiny 1.8kg baby who was prem. Luckily he didn’t have to go into an incubator but stayed in hospital for 3 weeks after I left.
Not without struggles
When he was 4 months old Zack kept getting high high fevers. We took him to our paed who had delivered him, and after tests it was found he had grade 4 kidney reflux (grade 5 being worst, 1 being best-case scenario). Kidney reflux is when the valve between the ureters and the bladder is not properly formed so the urine refluxes up into the kidneys.
He had to be on a low-grade antibiotic twice a day for a year and landed up in hospital about 4 more times. And when he turned 2 he had an operation. They pulled the ureters out and emplanted them into the walls of his bladder, creating natural valves.
Zack's kidneys are not 100% yet. The left one is still swollen a bit. He has MRI and nuclear study scans once a year and hopefully everything will just go from strength to strength.
Zack is my absolute joy and miracle. But his life – from creation to now – has not been without struggles. I had to have a hysterectomy last year at the age of 41, so Zack will always be my only biological child – so he is all that more of a miracle to me!
In September 2008 I started the website KidsForAfrica.co.za as my love and passion for children wanted me to be involved with all things kiddie, so I have loads of "babies" on board now too.