To the average person, having a baby is about buying precious baby clothes and joyously expecting the arrival of new life. For those who have experienced pregnancy, they know that pregnancy also involves doctor’s visits and blood tests conducted to maintain the health of mom and baby. Yet despite all the medical achievements that have been made and all the danger signs that are examined, calamity can still transpire. Unfortunately, two Mother’s Heart clients faced such calamity during their pregnancy and delivery, but because MH’s exists through the help of supporters like yourself, Chanty and Vicheka’s stories do not end in fatalities.
Chanty and Vicheka both faced extreme medical complications. Mother’s Heart staff were called out in the early hours of the morning to take a seven months pregnant Chanty to the hospital as she was experiencing seizures from pregnancy induced eclampsia. Doctors performed an emergency C-section, as the eclampsia would have claimed the life of mother and baby. Today, Chanty is doing well, and despite weighing only 1.1 kg at birth, her baby continues to put on weight and grow.
Vicheka also came close to death when she began to hemorrhage after delivering twin girls (read the detailed version of her story below). If it had not been for the presence of MH staff rushing Chanty to hospital or advocating for Vicheka’s urgent blood transfusions, both of these women would have lost their lives unnecessarily.
We are so thankful to our donors for your generous giving. It is because of you that Chanty and Vicheka’s lives were saved. We rejoice that through you, we were able to help them overcome these crises and we will help them grow to a place of stability in their lives where they will be able to handle the next crisis without the need for our support.
How will you provide for them?
Vicheka found herself surrounded by a group of concerned women. Heavily pregnant, she would wash dishes, do mending, or help sell food, anything to earn enough to buy food for herself. At nights she settled down to sleep on the street. She had attracted the attention of some local women who worked and lived in the area. With compassion they collected some money together to give to her. One of the ladies allowed her to sleep in her home. Another gave her Mother’s Heart’s phone number.
At seventeen, Vicheka had arrived in Phnom Penh hunting for work. In the province, it was her mother’s aunt who had raised her. Her own family – mother, father, grandmother and younger brother had all died while she was a child. In Phnom Penh, Vicheka worked as a maid or doing odd jobs. It was not long before she met a boy…
Unfortunately, her partner was a savory character. Their first child died. Then Vicheka was pregnant by him again, this time with twins, yet her partner would not take responsibility for her or the babies.
34 weeks pregnant, Vicheka called Mother’s Heart and was taken into the pregnancy support program. She was found a place to stay until delivery.
The birth did not go well. Vicheka lost a lot of blood and needed a transfusion. An impassioned scrabble ensued as Mother’s Heart social workers struggled to find blood donors. There is a widespread policy in Cambodia that in order to receive a blood transfusion, the relatives or friends of the sick person must donate an equivalent amount of blood before the transfusion takes place. Often doctors or staff will donate blood when there is no family. But Vicheka was giving birth on a holiday, there was hardly any staff around. A dear friend of Mother’s Heart was able to give 4 units of life saving blood for Vicheka.
Gradually recovering, Vicheka left hospital. Her stalwart neighbors urged her to give one or both of her babies away. “Yes but how will you provide for them? At least give one of them away.” Vicheka was very torn. She truly did not know what to do. It is so hard for single women with one child to survive but two, impossible!!!
With Mother’s Heart counseling, Vicheka was able to clearly evaluate whether or not she was able to keep her babies. Staff assured her it was her decision; they would support her in whatever she chose.
Vicheka has decided to keep both babies. Together she and Mother’s Heart staff created a plan for her future. She desperately wanted a job so Mother’s Heart staff set up an interview with a partner organization. At this interview Vicheka excelled and was accepted into their one-year program. Now she has a safe place to stay, a supportive community, and a job.
Vicheka, is proactive about the care of her twins, everyone notices it. She still gets help from Mother’s Heart; they provide her with nappies, formula to supplement her breast milk, and emotional support from the staff when she needs it. But Vicheka is succeeding to make a life for her small family in Phnom Penh.
She is an amazing, strong, and determined young woman and all involved in her life are extremely proud of her.
*These are pictures of Vicheka’s actual twins. To respect the privacy and dignity of our clients we do not post pictures of their faces.
Vicheka's other twin