Tough pregnancy, miracle child

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

But Jessie Ong and her husband, Hee Weng Yew, wanted one desperately. Madam Ong said in Mandarin: "I wanted a complete family. A couple need a child to keep the relationship going."

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 42 now, 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 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 had yielded 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 hospital twice.

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 said: "On the day I had a 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 that her legs ached and her husband gave her a massage. But as she was walking to the toilet, she collapsed. Madam Ong said: "I couldn't lift my hand. I knew I had a stroke."

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

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 for 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."

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. 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.

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 as well.

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

When he was three years old, he 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, said: "He's such a sensible boy."

The boy has taken to doing housework - like washing the toilet - of his own accord. When asked why he does it, he said: "Because I know how to do it."

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

Madam Ong said: "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 11, 2015.
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