(Please note that Grace's story has a content warning for traumatic pregnancy and infant mortality.)
Grace is 18 and pregnant for the second time, with her baby due any day now. She told me about how her first pregnancy ended in tragedy at 7 months.
Grace was at home when her waters broke early. Although she had not attended any antenatal appointments, she knew she needed to get to the hospital, so she and her parner got in a Matatu (a public and crowded minibus) and headed to Kenyatta National hospital in Nairobi. When they arrived, Grace was immediately admitted and the hospital team performed an emergency c-section.
Grace remembers feeling bewildered, she says nobody really told her what was going on. When her baby was delivered, he was taken away immediately and placed in an incubator. The baby boy, who she named George Kiman, died three days later. Grace never got to hold George, she told us that his head had grown but his body had not. Grace and her partner didn’t have any money for a funeral so the hospital buried George themselves, Grace doesn't know exactly where.
After she was discharged, Grace went to her mother’s house to recover - but after a week she fell ill and had to return to hospital. She had developed deep vein thrombosis in her leg, which had become infectious. It was two months before Grace was able to leave hospital and return home.
Grace told me that she never went for her antenatal checks when she was pregnant with George, so nobody could know that her baby wasn’t growing normally. Now she's pregnant again, she has been to all her appointments and is very happy and excited to be expecting a healthy baby! She was happy for her story to be shared, to help Child.org find ways to ensure more women attend their antenatal appointments.
This is important. Child.org's new baby box programme will encourage young new mums like Grace to attend their appointments and get the support they need. Please donate to our appeal, and help us bring baby boxes to Nairobi.