By the time you’re old enough to read this, you’ll know that your name isn’t really “Fighter”. You now go by a different name with the initials J M Tiah. Fighter is a nickname your mother and I gave you ever since she discovered she was pregnant with you. You see mom has a medical condition called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. I’ll let you read up about it on your own but in short it’s the most common reason for infertility in a woman and even once a woman gets pregnant, there is a 45% chance that a woman with PCOS has a miscarriage. That’s 3 times higher than a regular pregnancy.
We called you Fighter, because we believed that you will go against all odds and make it through to be a healthy baby. That you will fight for your life as hard as your Dad and Mom fought for yours… because you are a Fighter.
As I write this, the date is the 4th of August 2013. I am at your mother’s bedside in the hospital. She has been here for 10 days and is expected to be here for the next few weeks. You see 10 days ago when your mother came for a regular checkup on you, the Doctor found out that she had preeclampsia. It’s a medical condition where the placenta is a little faulty and so the mother’s body works harder to pump more blood to the baby. As a result of that, the mother’s blood pressure goes up and if that goes out of control, your mother could get a stroke, lose her eyesight or have some other serious consequences.
The only cure for preeclampsia is to deliver the baby which is why it isn’t too bad a condition if the mother who has preeclampsia is 34 weeks pregnant or more. But your mother was only 28 weeks when she found out she had preeclampsia, way too premature to deliver you. So what the Doctor has to do is give your mother medication and monitor her closely for the next few weeks to keep you in her womb as long as possible so that you have enough time to grow. If too much medication is given and your mother’s blood pressure goes too low, it could affect your growth. That’s why your mom is in a very difficult situation right now.
Your mother spent most of the past 10 days on the hospital bed. To pass time, she reads a lot, watches some TV shows off her Microsoft Surface tablet and occasionally updates her blog.
Her feet have swollen because of the severe water retention aggravated by this condition, so much that she is unable to fully fit into some shoes I bought her last week.
She often gets headaches, partly from the high blood pressure but also partly from the medicine she takes. She gets tired very very quickly and suddenly falls into spontaneous sleep.
The hardest part about watching your mother go through this isn’t the physical pain she goes through but the emotional grief. In the first few nights, I recall your mother laying back stiff as they tested her blood pressure. When the results came back to be at a dangerous level, she looked away from the nurse and waited for the nurse to leave. Once the nurse left she broke into tears, worried about what too high a blood pressure could do to you.
Yes, like I mentioned earlier, too high a blood pressure could cause a stroke on your mother but that’s not what she seemed worried about. She was worried about what the Doctor said could happen to you. That too high a blood pressure could cause the placenta to detach and endanger your life. Your mother wasn’t worried about herself. She was worried about you. And she was worried about me, about the medical bills that I will have to pay since our insurance doesn’t cover this medical condition. I won’t go into the exact amount but lets just say that we’re expecting that the medical bills for both you and your mother at the end of this episode will be enough to buy a brand new mid-range car. Fortunately though, I have always assured your mother that we will be able to afford the bills and give you and her the best medical care money can buy.
On the brighter side, your mother is really popular.
For the past ten days she has had friends visit her every single day. Her room is full of flowers and fruit baskets and things that people have sent over the past few days.
So many that we ran out of space and I had to bring some back home on some of the days.
Your mother and I are counting the days till when it is safe for you to be born. Each day longer her body is able to support you is a day crucial to your development. Just today we were reading up about the development of fetuses in their 30th week vs their 34th week and trying to decide when would it be safe for you. With this condition, we don’t have the luxury of waiting till you’re a full term baby. The Doctor tells us that this is a ticking time bomb. We can only fight this as long as we can and then … it will all be up to you Fighter. I pray you will have the strength you need to be the healthy baby you’re meant to be.
I feel the need to write this to you because I fear that one day the details of what your mother had to go through would be forgotten. I also pray that you will remember the difficult time your mother and father had to go through to bring you into this world.
One day when you are older….
I hope that whenever you get angry at your mother, you remember the patience she had in trying to keep you in her womb as long as she can.
I hope that whenever you get upset because your mother sends you to your room, you remember the weeks she had to spend in a hospital room for you.
I hope that whenever you think your parents don’t buy you the extravagant material things that your friends may have, you remember the even more extravagant bills we had to pay to bring you into this world safely.
I hope that whenever you have to care for your mother, you remember how she cared for your wellbeing more than hers even before you were born.
I hope that whenever you feel that you’re not strong enough to face adversity, you think of the strength your mother had throughout the whole time you were in her womb.
But amongst all… I hope that you will grow to be a healthy child who will love your parents as much as we love you.
PS: Your mother and I talked about the reaction you would probably have when you did read this when you’re older. We decided that you’ll probably be like “So annoying this Dad, before I’m born already want to lecture me.”. I hope that won’t be your reaction. Don’t be notty ah!