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I thought my child wouldn’t make it

Janet Lawino is 17 and has only just been able taken her firstborn son home after a month-long stay at the neonatal intensive care unit. Being a new mum is always daunting, but finding yourself pregnant whilst still a teenager yourself can be an overwhelming experience, not the least if your child is unwell. 

Janet, 17, at home with her husband Jacob Maxwell Okellakwo, 18, feeding their son extracted breast milk. Their baby is still weak and weighs only 1.4 kilo's but his health is improving. The baby was cared for by VSO volunteer Gerieke Zanberg Peter Caton

Janet at home with her husband Jacob, feeding their son extracted breast milk. Their baby is still weak and weighs only 1.4 kg but his health is improving. The baby was cared for by volunteer Gerieke Zanberg 

Janet’s son was born two months early. He had a very low birth weight as well as breathing and stomach complications. Thanks to the work of the nurses at Gulu Regional Referral Hospital, with the support of volunteer Gerieke Zandberg, Janet was able to bring her tiny baby home. Janet  tells her story:

Unexpected pregnancy 

"I wasn’t happy when I found out I was pregnant. 

"I wasn’t 18 yet. It was unplanned. It took time for me to get used to the idea of becoming a mother and I could relax and be happy. "

Early Labour

"I was at home in my village when the labour started, but I was only seven months pregnant. I didn’t go to the hospital until the pain got more intense."

I thought my child wouldn’t make it

"Things didn’t go well. When he was born he wasn’t healthy. He had a breathing problem. The nurses began resuscitation; they knew what they were doing but it wasn’t good to watch. I thought my child wouldn’t make it. I thought he would die."

I thought my child wouldn’t make it. I thought he would die

"After about an hour the baby began to breathe normally. I was so happy. 

"I didn’t get to go home after that. I had to stay in the hospital for over a month. He also had stomach problems and couldn’t poo or urinate for about three weeks. Gerieke and the nurses helped him recover.

"Finally he started to gain a bit of weight. If it wasn’t for Gerieke, the nurses and this hospital I think he would have died. 

"Yesterday, I finally got to take my son home. I feel good that they were there to help. I would like more people to support projects like this and save lives of children."

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