I was four months pregnant when I went for my usual ultrasound. The look on the nurse’s face told me that something was very wrong. She went to ge the doctor. The doctor looked for a few minutes without saying a word until she said ” So, your baby has a condition called gastroschisis. This means that his intestines are growing on the outside of his body.” I had seen this before on the discovery health channel. She told me to get my things and come into her office. I called my husband while I waited for the nurse to tell me to go in. I had enough time to tell him what I knew so far before I hung up to speak with the doctor. She proceeded to tell me what causes it, what would need to happen during and after my pregnancy to make the condition easier to repair once he was born and if I wanted to terminate the pregnancy. I said no with a confused look on my face, why would I? I asked would I have to have a c-section and most importantly, could the intestines repair themselves and grow inside him. She said this was impossible. But I knew something she didn’t… Allah is my Lord and He is Able to do all things.
I went home and discussed everything the doctor had told me with my husband and researched gastroschisis. He said “Make du’a.” I made du’a all the time for Allah to reverse the gastroschisis, to make him healthy, not to let him feel any pain from it.
I had to start getting ultrasounds once a month, then twice a week, then once a week as I got closer to my due date. Each time I would see more and more of his intestines growing on the outside. It made me so sad, but I knew as long as I made du’a, everything would be ok. My last ultrasound was at 35 weeks. They wanted to check the baby’s heartbeat. They noticed it would go down when I had minor contractions and said they wanted to induce me that day. It was so unexpected. They had told me babies with gastroschisis are usually induced early or arrive early on their own, but I didn’t expect it. My mom came to pick up my then 2 year old daughter as my husband arrived at the same time. This was it.
I had told my OB. that I had decided against a c-section because I didn’t want the recovery time or the pain and he told me the risks of it given my son’s condition, but I felt everything would be fine. But lo and behold he hadn’t listened and they had booked me for a c-section, and when my husband and I stood our ground, they were pretty upset, but it’s my baby and my body, so too bad. They moved us to a labor and delivery room and put in the dreaded i.v. (I really hate this part). The pediatric doctor came in and told me exactly what would happen after my son was born. They said we probably wouldn’t get to hold him or my husband cut the umbilical cord as they usually immediately take the baby and cover their intestines to avoid infection. As soon as he was deemed well enough, they would operate and try to put all the healthy intestine back in. Any damaged parts would be cut out and the two healthy parts stitched together. If the intestines were inflamed or unable to fit, it would be placed back in a bag and slowly lowered into him and another surgery would have to be performed. I had watched videos of it on youtube and saw successful and unsuccessful surgeries so I made du’a his surgery would go smoothly and be successful.
And so labor began. It was fairly easy, like my first. Half way through the nurse couldn’t find his heartbeat and everyone got really panicked for about 5 minutes and I just amde du’a, du’a, du’a that he was ok and then we heard a thumping. Alhamdulillah. I began pushing some time later and 6 pushes later, my little man arrived. I looked down expecting to see the worst, according to what I had seen on the ultrasound the day before, but what I saw was quite shocking. While yesterday he had what seemed like feet on intestines floating around, I saw no more than half the length of pinky outside of his tiny body. Allah had answered my prayers and endless du’a, as I knew He would. Even the doctors were surprised, telling my husband go ahead and cut the cord. The put a tiny bag around the little bit of intestines, said it was fine for my husband to call the adhan in his ear, and to my surprise brought him over for me to hold. I looked into his eyes and thanked my Lord. They took him away and brought me into the room to see him after they had cleaned him and set up his i.v. At about 7am, the surgeon came in for consent for the surgery and to tell me about the procedure. I made du’a for everything to go ok until I fell back asleep. 45 minutes later, he came back and said the surgery was over and they were able to put the intestines back in and he was in recovery. Allahu Akbar.
He was in the nicu for 6 weeks. Had to switch hospitals because the nurses mostly were horrible, but a couple of incubators away from him, was a girl born with the same condition. Her surgery wasn’t successful and she had her intestines hanging over her at first and then when they fed her, they discovered, her intestines weren’t working properly. It made me so much more aware of the blessings of my Lord, that He could’ve let my son face these same difficulties, but instead answered my desperate call to Him.
My son is 2 as of a few days ago. Everytime I look at his ultrasound pictures, I’m reminded of how Allah has favored me and reminded of how much more grateful I should be.