This is a story of a woman who defied all odds and gave birth to a child. In a foreign country, five-month pregnant Shaheen Ahmad went desperately knocking on doors of different hospitals even as she was losing precious water from her womb. She was told that at 22 weeks, she had no chance to deliver a child that would live. She was advised abortion but no hospital was ready to admit her.
“”For three weeks, even as I constantly lost amniotic fluid, I desperately consulted doctors in five hospitals in Jeddah but no doctor would admit me. I found myself in the most horrifying situation as I was losing my child but no one was ready to offer me treatment, citing that they did not have space or facility to treat my 22-week-old child if he was born alive””, says Shaheen, holding her miracle baby Shafi meaning ‘cure’ close to her chest.
Shaheen says her desperate situation forced her Kutch-based parents to come look for a doctor in Ahmedabad who would be willing to take a high-risk pregnancy which was on the verge of termination. When Dr Sheru Zamindar of Apollo Hospital expressed readiness to take in Shaheen, she was faced with another dilemma – no airline would allow her to fly if she said she was pregnant and her water was leaking.
“”I felt as if I was denying my child’s existence even before I lost him when I declared ‘not pregnant’ to the airlines to board the flight to Ahmedabad””, says Shaheen. Allah, however, had other plans for Shaheen. Luckily, she got admitted in the hospital on January 1 and only then she started bleeding. “”Doctor told us that since bleeding had begun, the child would have to be delivered. He was delivered tiny at 680 grams but survived””, says her husband Shakeel, a maintenance engineer working in a mall in Jeddah. “”This was one of the few cases where the baby was given surfactant, a drug that prevents immature lungs of premature babies from collapsing, inside the delivery room. Initial few weeks were difficult but international protocols of nutrition were followed and the baby who was destined to live defied odds and is now a healthy 1.5 kg. He had to be kept in the neonatal ICU care for three months but now has been discharged””, says neonatal intensive care specialist Dr Ashish Mehta.