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Diary: For Jamira…

So, this week’s diary is quite emotional. This story moved me alot so I decided to share it…enjoy!

He should have come in September but patience was not
one of virtues. And so on Sunday July 27, 2003 at about 7.30am, Jamira opened
his eyes to the world at just about 27 weeks! If you know your math, that’s
less than seven months. This was a day after the doctor had discharged me from
the hospital after trying to induce the birth for a week with me only achieving
a 5cm dilation throughout the week. I had my son at home with the assistance of
a nurse!
 Just a week earlier, I was up all night working,
trying to beat deadlines (as usual) when at about 3am I discovered I was
sitting on water. I woke my husband and told him and he asked if the baby was
due-he wasn’t. But the water just kept coming!
We waited till about 5am, by which time I had soaked
up two ‘wrappers’, and then headed off to the hospital. I was immediately
admitted and the doctor ran a scan. He said the amniotic sac was intact but he
couldn’t explain where the water was coming from. He decided it was best to
induce the birth and so he inserted catheter. After a day or so, the catheter
dropped but I was nowhere near contractions-the water was still coming.
The doctor then decided to use injections and drips.
This was already day 4 and I had been in constant pain with this water flowing
non stop. The doctor did another scan and said the fluid in the amniotic sac
was just fine. He still had no idea where all the water was coming from.
The induction started and I went into labour, plus the
dilation increased to about 5cm but the baby’s head did not engage. It was at
this state that I was discharged. I guess the doctor ran out of ideas…
However three days later, my son slept and for over 24
hours, he did not wake. At about the 15th hour we took him to another hospital,
where the nurses (the doctor was unavailable) told us he was just resting. By
the next morning, the nurse who assisted in his birth came around and that was
when we saw that he had turned blue.
We rushed off to another hospital where they had
better facilities and he was immediately taken to intensive care and put in an
incubator and diagnosed of apnea attacks. Did I mention that at this point he
weighed less than 2kg? 

 That night, the medical director came to my ward and
told me that if not for his religious convictions he would have opted for
euthanasia. He said my son had oxygen cut off from his brain for so long and so
he was going to be mentally deranged. I was devastated. However, he said he
would do everything in his power to see that he survives. Though his chances
were very slim, survival was going to be the easy part.

After the doctor left, his father and I got talking
about how we were going to cope with a mentally challenged child. We already
had one son and the doctor had said we should take consolation in that. During
our conversation I realised I hadn’t named him. My husband had named him
‘Chizaram’ at birth which translates ‘God answered me’ but I was supposed to
give him an English name. We agreed that he should be named completely so that
even if he dies we would have a complete name for him. My husband then said his
survival would be a miracle and I said Jehovah’s miracle and thus we came up
with the name Jah-mira or as we choose to spell it Jamira.
By the next morning I was awoken by the doctors shout.
Jamira had not only made it through the night but had made significant progress
health wise. Within the next three days he was out of the incubator and in 5
days I was heading home with my baby.
Jamira is not mentally deranged but he has
developmentally challenges. Every milestone has been major- holding his head
steady, sitting, walking, talking, running, writing-everything has been
delayed, but he has always conquered. In fact, it would seem like he woke up to
each milestone. Like when he started talking, he didn’t do it like other
babies, he just starting talking in sentences over night. And with his writing,
he started drawing circles before he attempted straight lines.
School has been a major challenge. He can’t keep up
with kids his age and the Nigerian school system has nothing for kids like him.
You see, Jamira has a fantastic memory but he can’t spell or read well. So as
far as the Nigerian system is concerned he should be – I don’t know, maybe at
home?
I have had to work with the teachers in his school to
see him as different and use his strengths to cover up for his weaknesses. They
have co-operated so far making his tests oral, someone reads to him, he answers
and they write it down. With this system he has been able to perform better
than the average student. He enjoys drawing and building things. Sometimes
working with him can be really frustrating, but I always like to remember where
he is coming from.
Next year he moves on to primary four and the
wonderful thing is, he has started reading up to four letter words! I’m sure
that very soon, he will cross this milestone like he did others.
Jamira wants to be a doctor. It seems such an
impossible feat given that he is still playing catch up with his mates. But who
knows! Chizaram Jamira Anaba may yet live his dreams, but if he doesn’t, I’m
sure he’ll make others. After all, he lived!
 
Abigail Anaba, Jamira’s mum
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