She was told to consider an abortion because her baby would have been born with severe disabilities and perhaps die within months.
“The doctors told me everything bad,” said Nekeisha Sherman Stephenson, a resident of Bog Walk, St Catherine. “When they told me the negative things, I simply locked my ears and thought about the positives.”
That spirit of positivity, Nekeisha indicated, influenced her to steer clear of abortion.
“The doctors said I was supposed to do an abortion, but that wasn’t on my agenda,” she told The Beacon. “I was wondering if the ultrasound is wrong, and the baby could have been normal.”
Nekeisha noted that she supports abortion, but only under certain circumstances. “Abortion is wrong unless it’s done in a life-threatening situation,” she declared, adding: “God gives us children and it is not our place to do away with any life.”
Her baby girl, Ameerah Stephenson, was born 17 months ago at Spanish Town Hospital, then sent to Bustamante Hospital for Children where she spent about six months.
Asked about her reaction when she first saw her child, Nekeisha said: “I was frighten; I only saw a big head.”
Ameerah was born with severe hydrocephalus – a condition in which fluid accumulates in the brain, enlarging the head and sometimes causing brain damage.
“My baby was also born with a hole in her heart, urinary infection, and less than two percent of her brain – and the brain that was there was abnormal. The doctors said maybe she would die after four months,” Nekeisha said.
“Her eyes were white when she was born; you couldn’t see the black part of the eyes. Doctors said she was going to be blind; she wouldn’t even talk. Now, she is calling ‘dada’ – she is saying one and two words.”
The child, over time, improved significantly.
She is now seeing although she was predicted to be blind. Nekeisha said the child’s brain is now almost fully developed although she was born with only two percent of it.
“They did another CT scan before the baby’s third surgery; this showed that most of her brain is there, and there is no abnormality,” Nekeisha said in a tone filled with optimism.
“My baby is now doing everything except that she isn’t walking yet. She is now a normal child; the only thing she has is a huge head to show that she was born that sick.”
The mother is oozing confidence that Ameerah will grow to live a normal life.
“I told God what I want; I told him I don’t want any disability. I am alright with the big head, but my baby will turn out normal. That’s what I am getting right now,” she opined.
Nekeisha, who previously had a miscarriage, told The Beacon that baby Ameerah is her second child. Her first daughter, Mackqueeda Stephenson, is in second form at Charlemont High School – Nekeisha’s alma mater.
The mother, who resigned from her job to take care of Ameerah, said she encounters financial challenges at times, especially in covering medical bills.
Her husband, Delroy Stephenson, is now the family’s sole breadwinner. “He loves the baby more than me; he is even more careful with her than I am,” Nekeisha said.
She further stated that her family’s love and care are Ameerah best medicine, adding that she would advise mothers to avoid abandoning their ill babies at hospitals.
“When you leave them at the hospital and they don’t feel that connection with anybody, after a while, they just die,” Nekeisha reasoned. “Many babies like mine are not doing anything for themselves because they are abandoned at the hospital. When you stay with them and give them love, it makes them want to fight to get well.”
Ameerah, no doubt, is among the little ones impressively fighting the big battles to get well.
By Horace Mills, Journalist