Hawa decides to talk about a very specific time in her life. She experienced issues during her pregnancy a few years ago, but gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Then her daughter developed a new set of complications. Hawa describes her visits to various hospitals, her daughter’s life, and the help they received. She ends with encouraging words to other women.
I was two months pregnant in 2017 when my abdomen began to hurt. I visited the government hospital, but they couldn’t help me without a scan. The staff didn’t have the proper machine so they referred me to Bo city. The doctor in Bo discovered an ovarian cyst and told me that I needed an operation, but I didn’t have the money. The doctor prescribed tablets for me and promised that the pain would stop after birth. I went to the pharmacy and bought the drugs for Le 20,000 (USD ~2-3). I don’t remember the name of the medicine, but I took it every day during my pregnancy.
I gave birth seven months later to a beautiful girl, Skyme. After one or two weeks of perfect health, she began to have convulsions. Her body would became very stiff and she’d look straight ahead with a tiny smile on her face. Her arms would bend at the elbows and lock. I couldn’t stretch them out and didn’t want to force them open. After some time Skyme would return to normal and look around in confusion.
I took her to the same government hospital and they gave her injections and treatments. The convulsions never came back so I was happy. This all happened in Skyme’s first month; she was happy and healthy after that. Around three to fourth months later, I noticed that her head begin to swell. I returned to the hospital and the doctors couldn’t find any problem. They referred us to Princess Christian Maternity Hospital, or Cottage Hospital, in Freetown. After that I was referred to Connaught Hospital.
The staff at Connaught asked a private hospital to perform a scan for my child. They found fluid in her head and told me they needed to remove it. We stayed at Connaught for two months as they tried to perform the operation multiple times. Each time they would insert a needle into Skyme’s head hoping to remove fluid, but they would only draw blood. Every week they’d try the same procedure and it never succeeded. The doctors finally told me that they couldn’t save Skyme. Even if the operation succeed the damage had been done. The staff instructed me to stop giving medicine to her. They discharged us and we went home.
Skyme never cried during any of the hospital visits or operations, but I remember she let out a loud cry on her last day at home. Her auntie asked me to find out what happened. I rushed into the room and sat next to my baby. She continued to cry and blood slowly flowed from her nose and mouth. She finally gave up and passed away.
I always miscarry after my pregnancy with Skyme. One time I thought I would reach full term, but didn’t make it after four months. I feel that my cyst is causing the problem but I’m not sure. I always feel pain in my lower abdomen so I just take over-the-counter medicine that costs Le 5000 (USD ~0.60). I misplaced the prescription paper my doctor gave me and it’s too expensive to get another one.
I’m so thankful for Revered Rosalyn Freeman. She paid for everything to help me and Skyme—hospital visits, scans, food, and medicine. If not for her, I couldn’t have helped my daughter. The doctors really tried to save Skyme, but God didn’t agree with my prayers. I appreciate Revered Freeman’s help even though we couldn’t save my daughter. I don’t have any grievances with the hospitals.
One day I hope my body will heal so that I may have children again. I had one daughter before Skyme: she’s seven years old and lives in Freetown with her father’s big sister. I’m glad her aunt takes care of her and puts her through school. I know my first daughter will be a great person in the future. I didn’t go to school, but my child should.
My message to women—help your sisters in their time of need. Let us support each other during our problems, even if there is no solution.