Three failed pregnancies, then a baby at 41Monday, May 14, 2012
IN 1996, Andrea Thomas was rushed to the doctor with serious abdominal pains. There she was told that she had a kidney infection and was treated. But after being on medication for close to four weeks, Thomas realised that the pain was intensifying. It was only after further testing that the doctors discovered that she was in fact pregnant, but that the foetus was lodged in her left fallopian tube.
She had an ectopic pregnancy (an abnormal pregnancy that occurs outside the womb) where the entire fallopian tube was obstructed.
"When I was being treated for kidney stones I had a baby stuck in my right tube, but nobody knew I was pregnant and as a result they had to remove the entire tube and I almost lost my life in the process. They said once the tube ruptured I could die in seconds," Thomas said.
In 2009, Thomas again had some terrible pains. This time she was staying with a friend a little distance away from Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH) in Montego Bay.
She was rushed to the CRH and it was again discovered that she was pregnant. Thomas’ heart fell, as the realised it was 1996 repeating itself.
"I cried because I said I only had one tube and they would have to remove it, that means I would not stand a chance of getting pregnant again," she recalled.
It was indeed discovered that the baby was in the right tube. Her hopes of ever becoming a mom dampened, but the doctors decided to try and save the tube. They were successful. In January 2010, six months later, she was again pregnant. "All of this time though, what was happening was that I would have very irregular cycles — two or three times for the year — so it was such a disaster where ovulation was concerned, so the chances of me becoming pregnant were very, very slim with one tube and an irregular cycle," she said.
Her first emotion was that of excitement, but this was shortlived as she remembered her first two pregnancies.
But though she had been pregnant twice before, this was the first time there was movement and a heartbeat.
A week later she started feeling pain. When she was undergoing an ultrasound exam, the doctor told her that he could not find a heartbeat. An examination revealed that the baby had died the day after she had left the doctor’s office two weeks prior. The baby had died at six weeks and one day.
The doctors at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) decided to study her to find out why her pregnancies were ending prematurely.
In December 2010, Thomas said she became frustrated. She went back to her doctor and told him that she was now 40 and refused to go through another year without having a baby.
Having previously done a barrage of tests, she turned down the doctor’s suggestion to do them over again.
Two weeks after she left the doctor, she said she again felt ‘funny’. She did a pregnancy test and discovered that for the fourth time, she was pregnant.
"I was pregnant at the time when I went to the doctor and almost did the tests," she said. "If I had done the tests, I would have killed the foetus."
Her doctor gave her guidelines for keeping the child alive and called her everyday to check on her.
Though Thomas was full of doubts and fears, she and her husband prayed and fasted together for the health of their baby.
At seven months Thomas was admitted to the hospital suffering from preeclampsia, the most common of the dangerous pregnancy complications which can affect both mother and the unborn child.
She was treated and released.
At almost nine months, she was again admitted as her blood pressure had skyrocketed and there were high levels of protein in her urine.
She stayed at the UHWI for three weeks under close observation.
After 18 years of trying, on August 9, 2011, Thomas finally gave birth to her full-term baby girl, LéAndra.
Today, words cannot describe the emotions that both Thomas and her husband Lengaw are feeling after having their child, whom they describe as a miracle.
"I don’t think there is an adjective to describe how we feel. Each time I look at her I just say ‘because the Lord has heard and answered our prayer’," the new mother said. "Medicine failed and God intervened. This is something I was prepared for in the first year of marriage and to see 18 of them pass and nothing happened, this is just awesome!"
Thomas said she is also sharing her experience to encourage persons to know that when medicine fails, God will intervene.
"He heard and He answered our prayers," she said.
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