Real Life

My triple baby tragedy

Within the space of a few months, this young mother lost her three babies.

“Please, don’t take my baby,” Priscilla Williams prayed, as agonising pains seared through her pregnant tummy. After the devastating death of her beautiful daughter, Aaliyah, just a few months earlier, the possibility of losing another baby was almost too much for the 24-year-old to bear. But as the ambulance raced to the hospital, she feared the worst.

on arrival, Priscilla underwent emergency surgery, during which medical staff were stunned to discover a double ectopic pregnancy. She was three months pregnant with not one baby, but twins, each of which was stuck in one of her Fallopian tubes – an extremely rare condition that occurs in just one in 100,000 pregnancies.

Bleeding heavily and desperately unwell, Priscilla’s own life hung in the balance as she lay on the operating table. The doctors had no choice but to remove the tiny babies immediately in order to save her life. “I felt like I was being punished, but I didn’t know why,” says Priscilla, of Levin, who is still grieving after the experience that left her shattered eight months ago.

The young mum’s nightmare began in January 2008, when 17-month-old Aaliyah became unwell. “She didn’t look like her normal self so I took her to the doctor, who said she had bronchitis and asthma,” explains Priscilla.

“But the next day she was vomiting and another GP advised us to go straight to hospital. We found out she had a rare heart problem, called cardiomyopathy, and were sent to Starship Hospital in Auckland.”

Priscilla and her partner, Quinten Nikora (24), were stunned when heart specialists told them there was nothing they could do to save their gorgeous little girl.

“We were warned that Aaliyah wouldn’t live very long,” she says. “If they’d picked it up earlier, maybe we would have had more time with her.” Sadly, Aaliyah died in her mother’s arms just weeks after her diagnosis.

A few months later, Priscilla wondered if she was ready to try for another baby, but the decision was taken out of her hands when she discovered she was already pregnant. She greeted the news with mixed feelings. “I was happy, but also sad because of Aaliyah, and I was scared that something similar could happen again.”

At three months, that fear became a terrible reality when she was suddenly stricken with severe abdominal pain. “It was worse than giving birth to my daughter,” Priscilla recalls. “I fainted, but managed to ask my cousin to ring an ambulance.”

She was rushed to hospital and during the emergency surgery, it was found that one of her Fallopian tubes had burst so it had to be removed. Checking her other tube, the doctors were stunned to find another embryo lodged inside it. To save Priscilla’s life, they had to take out that tube too, with the baby inside.

“I nearly died from the bleeding. All of the blood in my body had gone to my stomach and I had to have eight blood transfusions,” Priscilla says. “They had to remove both of my Fallopian tubes, so now I can’t have children naturally.”

Although Priscilla would be eligible for Government-funded IVF treatment – in which an already-fertilised egg can be implanted in her womb – at this stage she is not ready to go down that path. But, despite the heartache, she has not given up hope of having a family in the future. “I would like what other people have, one day,” she says quietly. “I like to believe that my twins are with their big sister, looking after each other.”

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