Miracle pregnancy leaves her with stroke

Madam Jessie Ong with her son, Jayden Hee, 6.

She was 36 and figured that the older she got, the more challenging it would be to have a baby.

But Madam Jessie Ong and her husband, Mr Hee Weng Yew, wanted one desperately.

Madam Ong says in Mandarin: "I wanted a complete family. A couple need a child to keep the relationship going."

But she knew there was a risk of complications.

"It was my last chance to have a baby. I took a gamble. No matter how hard it was, I would go through it."

Madam Ong and Mr Hee, who are both now 42, had tried for a baby for four years without success after getting married in 2004.

They opted for in vitro fertilisation (IVF) in 2008 but the first attempt failed.

That was the start of an emotional roller-coaster ride.

First, Madam Ong was diagnosed with diabetes.

Then her doctor told her more than a year later that her second try at IVF yielded a pair of twins. But two months later, one of the twins died in her womb.

The surviving twin was a fighter, her miracle baby. And she was going to prove to her unborn child that she was a fighter too.

The pregnancy was risky - Madam Ong had a low-lying placenta (a condition that can cause severe bleeding before or during labour), and she had to inject insulin every day to control her diabetes.

Six months into her pregnancy, she had high-blood pressure and her legs were badly swollen. She had to be admitted to the hospital twice.

There was to be no respite.

A month later, she suffered a stroke that paralysed the left side of her body. She had blood clots in her brain, too.

Madam Ong says: "On the day I had stroke, my colleagues asked me why my palms were pale. I didn't feel any pain. So I didn't pay much attention to it.

"I even went out for dinner with them for an early celebration of my birthday."

When she got home that night, she complained her legs ached and her husband gave her a massage.

But as she was walking to the toilet, she collapsed. Madam Ong says: "I couldn't lift my hand. I knew I had a stroke."

Her husband, a technical specialist, called the ambulance and she was taken to the Singapore General Hospital.

Mr Hee says in Mandarin: "She couldn't move at all. Her mouth drooped on the left and she kept drooling. She could speak only three days later."

Madam Ong gave birth to Jayden via caesarean section two weeks later. He was a premature baby at 34 weeks.

While he was discharged four days later, Madam Ong stayed another two weeks for rehabilitation.

When she was finally discharged, she sobbed uncontrollably.

"I wanted to be out of the hospital quickly so that I could see my baby. I was so happy to finally see him."

She could breastfeed her baby for only a week before her body was weak - she lost 23kg from loss of appetite.

It broke her heart when she could not carry or care for Jayden.

She says: "I love babies very much. I would look after my nephews and nieces and yet I couldn't look after my own baby. I could only cradle him on my lap with my functional right hand.

"I envy other mothers who can carry their own babies but what could I do?"

Her mother helped out for a month and then a maid for several months. She then hired a nanny to look after her baby full-time for close to three years.

GRATEFUL

Madam Ong says: "I'm grateful to the nanny. She helped look after my baby so that I could focus on my recovery."

She was determined to get well again for her family. She had almost daily sessions of physiotherapy and acupuncture for a year. She can now walk again albeit with a limp.

The blood clots in her brain had dissolved, too.

Jayden has been her guardian angel. He is protective of her and ever ready to help.

At one of her acupuncture sessions, the six-year-old almost took someone else's walking stick in his eagerness to help his mother.

When he was three years old, Jayden told his mother: "I'm sorry I made you sick. I was naughty when I was in your tummy."

Madam Ong, who was dumbfounded but touched, says: "He's such a sensible boy."

Now, the boy has taken to doing housework - like washing the toilet - on his own accord.

When asked why he does it, he says: "Because I know how to do it."

When pressed further on where he learnt to do housework, Jayden says: "My brain learnt it from the television and I learnt it from my brain."

Jayden brings much joy to his parents that they have no regrets having him.

Madam Ong says: "Even though I'm sick now, it is okay. At least, I have Jayden with me. I feel happy and satisfied. It was worth it."


This article was first published on May 10, 2015.
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