Winnie Thuku-Craig lost her baby and job in a series of unfortunate events. But she has emerged stronger from the ashes, writes NJOKI CHEGE
"Iam freezing," were the first words she uttered in a muffled, weak voice. Winnie had no idea where she was. On the other hand, doctors were surprised that she had woken up. Winnie Thuku-Craig whole again. [Photo/Standard]
Winnie Thuku-Craig whole again. [Photo/Standard]
Several days before, Winnie was anticipating something big that would transform her life — her first baby. "I had moved in to a new house, bought new furniture, done baby shopping and I was excited," Winnie recalls the events that happened in 2008 when she was expecting her first child. This is what transpired.
One evening, in her eighth month of pregnancy, Winnie was fixing a curtain in her room when she slipped, but did not fall. She noticed that the baby stopped playing in her uterus, which was cause for alarm.
She called her doctor, who advised her to walk around the house to liven up the baby. The baby bounced back to action and Winnie went to sleep. The next day, she visited a doctor for a scan; which confirmed that things were alright.
"A week later, I was back to the hospital, this time writhing in pain. I was in labour," she says.
She lay in pain at the labour ward as doctors discussed her issue.
"Doctors would come in one after the other, examine me and leave the room. But one doctor broke the sad news to me," she recalls.
"My eyes and hands were white which meant that I had lost a lot of blood. Doctors were organising for a major blood transfusion for me," Winnie explains.
She was told that she had been bleeding internally for the past one week.
"I told them that was a big lie. There’s no way I could have been bleeding, I totally refused," she recalls.
Then Winnie asked about her baby, and the answer she got still rings in her mind to date.
"I was told, ‘your baby is no more,’" she says quietly.
According to the doctors, what transpired when Winnie slipped was that the placenta got separated slightly from the uterus. But the gap was too small to be detected through a the scan.
"A week later, due to the downward pull from the weight of the baby the placenta fully raptured and cut off my baby’s supply of oxygen. I was also bleeding internally which made me almost lose my life," Winnie says.
Upon receiving news of her baby’s demise, Winnie’s blood pressure shot up. The doctors tried to induce labour to allow normal delivery, but her baby passage did not open up.
Says she: "I could not deliver normally in spite of the induced labour and neither could I go through a C-Section because of the high blood pressure."
For almost three days, Winnie stayed with a dead baby inside her womb. The pain was unbearable and Winnie thought she would not make it.
"As my family watched me being wheeled to theatre, they cried, thinking that that would be the last time they would see me alive," she says.
Doctors would later recount the experience to Winnie, telling her that the moment she was cut up, gallons of blood gushed out drenching everyone in the theatre. After the dead baby was removed, the doctors got into an interesting argument.
"They debated on whether to return back my uterus or just dispose of it since I would not wake up anyway. But one female doctor challenged them to stop playing God and they decided to return my uterus," a doctor recounted to her.
Doctors left the operation room, nobody expected her to wake up. Miraculously she did and her first words were "I am freezing!"
She was freezing because she had lost a lot blood. The entire hospital staff together with other donors were mobilised to donate blood for this ‘miracle’ patient.
Winnie could barely recall her name, nor what had happened.
She stayed in hospital for a week before she was discharged.
Healing was a difficult process.
"The healing process was long and painful, I feared sleeping because I thought I would slip into death, I didn’t want to see baby clothes or baby stuff near me," Winnie remembers.
The sight of babies or pregnant mothers would make her cry endlessly. She could not concentrate at work and so lost her job.
Winnie’s only way to pour her heart out was through journaling. She felt that society downplayed the pain caused by stillbirths and miscarriages.
"I wrote my first article My dance with death and posted it on Facebook. The article elicited immense feedback from women who had been through a similar experience. Before I knew it, I had an online following I turned to an online support group," she beams.
Her pastor encouraged her to write a book on her experiences. That is how Broken to be made whole, Whispers from heaven and View from above were born.
They were instant hits. Soon, Winnie was being called to give motivational talks to various audiences. Blessings are still coming her way.
In June this year, Winnie and Craig got married and are looking forward to starting a family.
Doctors have confirmed that she can have children without complications.