The journey of motherhood did not start with skin-to-skin or looking into my baby’s eyes with my husband by my side.

I literally crawled into motherhood bruised and battered, overwhelmed with uncertainty, fear and tears.

On March 4, our family fought our first battle together. We welcomed our biggest blessing and joy, Kira.

At the same time, I was thrown into the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) to fight for my life.

While giving birth to Kira, I collapsed due to an amniotic fluid embolism (AFE), which put both Kira and I at immense risk.

It all happened within the span of 30 minutes. After my water bag burst, I had a little bit of breakfast before telling Joel I felt nauseated.

Then Kira’s fetal heart rate dropped, the nurses rushed in and I collapsed.

Amelia could write her first few words the day after she collapsed. 

Dr Dev together with his team helped push Kira out from the top and used the forceps to pull her out. Kira didn’t cry when she was out though she eventually did a minute later.

AFE occurs when amniotic fluid or fetal material enters the mother’s bloodstream, and is a rare condition that happens to one for every 100,000 deliveries.

AFE is also one of the top causes of maternal perinatal deaths. The mortality rate for mothers is 20-50% while the morbidity rate is as high as 85% — one can have long-term consequences like heart damage, kidney dysfunction, decreased speech and gross motor skills.

The mortality rate for babies is as high as 60%, and only up to 50% of survivors are neurologically intact.

I could have lost my ability to speak, to hold Kira in my arms, to spend a lifetime of joy with Joel.

And yet despite the odds, here Kira and I stand, strong and ready to take on the world, ready to shine and inspire.

Yes, I still face reduced dexterity on my left hand. My wrist and grip strength isn’t as strong as before.

I could have lost my ability to speak, to hold Kira in my arms, to spend a lifetime of joy with Joel.

But knowing that I started from having no to little sensation on my left hand and speaking incoherent messages, I say that I am incredibly blessed to be where I am today.

I get to sing to Kira, I get to stand by Joel and live this journey of parenthood together with him.

There have been a million little miracles throughout, and here are some of them.

Medicine and miracles

After I collapsed and went into a sudden seizure, my cervix (which was 4cm when last checked 30 minutes ago) had dilated to 10cm.

Being fully dilated allowed the doctors to hurriedly get Kira out naturally.

We thank God for the discernment, calmness and experience of our obstetrician, Dr Dev, all of which contributed to having Kira out safely and healthy with us.

From left: Although Amelia remembers posing for this photo and talking to her Joel, she doesn’t recall anything else from this day; Kira was delivered swiftly and safely despite the pregnancy complication. 

We are also thankful for a successful uterine artery embolisation that stopped the haemorrhage (their last resort if my bleeding didn’t stop was a hysterectomy).

We are thankful because from the moment we headed to the hospital for our induction till birth, we had prayed for God’s hands of protection to be with us.

And that was what He gave us and more.

As it was a Friday morning when everything happened, we had all the manpower that was needed for the situation.

Dr Dev and the team of doctors we had were confident and quick on their feet.

Just talking about how I came out of this ordeal is already a huge surprise for all the doctors. Coupled with my rate of recovery, even the doctors agree that it’s a miracle.

God’s protection upon us got me out of the ICU in four days and out of the High Dependency Unit in three days.

And just after eight days of all that happened, I got the clear to go home! That is a divine recovery given the condition I was in.

Amelia was given the all-clear to be shifted out from the High Dependency Unit after three days.

All the time I was in and out of consciousness, Joel stood by me and put up his best front of being strong and steady for our families.

All that while battling with his own emotions of potentially losing his wife and the uncertainty of Kira’s long-term health.

Undoubtedly, my parents’ world came crumbling down when they received the news. And when that happened, Joel bore the weight of it all on his shoulders.

Just hours into parenthood, he took on the new role of being a dad, a mum and a caregiver. I can’t even begin to imagine how stressful and lonely it must have been for him.

All that while I was just lying there “sleeping”, with no clue of what was happening.

If it wasn’t for Joel’s faith and God’s providence of strength and comfort, I don’t know what held him together.

Amelia was discharged on March 12, eight days after she delivered Kira.

I also can’t recall exactly when it was during my ICU stay — but I remember seeing a clear image of Joel’s right hand holding mine, while I was holding a young girl’s hand in tow.

We were in a cave walking towards a bright light and Joel had his other hand on a rope that was along the cave walls.

I choose to believe that was God’s way of saying that everything will be okay.

A bumpy journey after

The road to recovery was not easy.

On the following night after being discharged, I had to return back to the A&E because of gross hematuria.

Thankfully, I managed to dodge an admission then.

However, just 10 days after being discharged on 12 March, I swallowed a fish bone and had to be readmitted for the surgeon to remove it with an oesophagogastroduodenoscopy (OGD).

I remember being really scared because I had to go under and they explained that there’s a very small possibility of a stroke.

I was awfully scared because of the recent AFE episode. I was afraid that my last time seeing and holding Kira was that evening before I put her down for bedtime.

“I am protected. God’s strength, courage and protection is with me. I will not give up, I will fight. For this family I have.”

I was afraid that the last time I got to see and hold Joel’s hands was before I got rolled into the OT.

I was afraid that everything I saw was my last. I was definitely not ready to leave just yet.

Which is why until the time the anaesthetic took over me, I kept repeating this: “I am protected. God’s strength, courage and protection is with me. I will not give up, I will fight. For this family I have.”

Indeed, it’s nothing short of a miracle we’re here today.

The couple celebrating Kira turning a month old together with their families. 

Thank God for holding us steady so we wouldn’t give up.

The first six weeks after coming home were brutal physically and mentally.

Despite how tired I was, I had to wake every 2-3 hours to pump milk, pee and measure and record it all down.

I had to do physiotherapy to get back the sensation in my left hand. Dexterity in that hand is still not the best; I can’t text with my left hand alone, typing with my left hand is much slower.

I struggled because I needed help with simple things like breastfeeding. I couldn’t bathe or change Kira because I didn’t have the strength yet.

I know that I am a walking miracle and I will continue to lean on our God who protects and heals.

On top of that, I was trying to create some form of normalcy in this new foreign reality.

Despite being exhausted and my brain moving extremely slowly, I forced myself to be “okay” enough to organise the insurance and other paperwork or handle household matters.

It doesn’t seem like much. But because I wasn’t prepared for any of this, it hit me really hard.

I found myself crying every morning when I latched Kira on my own in the room, or when I washed up.

I don’t know how long it will take for me to be fully okay, to not catch myself in tears during random times of the day.

But I know that there is a reason why I am still here today, there is a reason why God gave me life again.

I have yet to find the answer, but I know that I am a walking miracle and I will continue to lean on our God who protects and heals.

I will continue to seek strength from Him, like how our family has been doing from day one.

The start of something new

This is just the beginning of the miracle that God has performed and we are looking forward to what God has in store for our family.

Indeed, on the first Sunday of returning back to church, God spoke to Joel.

He said that while many may consider what has happened to us as a miracle, this was only the beginning of what He had in store for our family.

The miracle is not yet complete. God’s plan for His miracle is way bigger than we can fathom.

This Mother’s Day is the first for me and probably the most precious one because our family fought so hard to be here today, together as one.

My only hope for the future is that Kira will grow up knowing how God’s hands have been upon her since she was being formed in my womb, and that His mercy is bountiful.

We pray that as parents, we will raise Kira to be strong, healthy and wise — a woman anchored in God’s Word.

  1. What was one thing you took away from Amelia’s experience?
  2. How might you apply that perspective or lesson to a struggle you’re facing in life today?
  3. Know of anyone who’s going through a pregnancy? Pray a prayer of blessing with them this week.