Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 20 October 2020

Baby joy for Sharjah couple after 20 years of struggle

A malformed uterus and ruptured cervix left the woman struggling to carry a foetus to full term

Dr Muhammad Al Hassoun, specialist in obstetrics and gynaecology, holds baby Maher as Noor Eldeen, father of the newborn looks on. Courtesy: Zahra Hospital
Dr Muhammad Al Hassoun, specialist in obstetrics and gynaecology, holds baby Maher as Noor Eldeen, father of the newborn looks on. Courtesy: Zahra Hospital

After 20 anxious years and Dh200,000 spent on failed fertility treatments, a couple desperate to have a second child had their wish fulfilled at a hospital in Sharjah.

Naima Haji, 38, was born with a malformed uterus. She and her husband, Noor Eldeen, 55, had their first child 21 years ago but, after her cervix ruptured during the birth, Ms Haji became unable carry a foetus into the third trimester.

After four miscarriages and several failed rounds of expensive in-vitro fertilisation, Ms Haji gave birth to a second son at Zahra Hospital last month.

The couple, from Somalia, were ecstatic.

“I spent more than Dh200,000 on fertility treatments. We saw about seven different doctors but we were hopeful each and every time,” said Mr Eldeen, who moved to the UAE 27 years ago.

Doctor Muhammad Al Hassoun, specialist in obstetrics and gynaecology, holds baby Maher. Courtesy: Zahra Hospital
Doctor Muhammad Al Hassoun, specialist in obstetrics and gynaecology, holds baby Maher. Courtesy: Zahra Hospital

“My wife underwent so many treatments. She would get pregnant and lose the baby at five months every time but we never gave up” he said.

Ms Haji’s weak cervix made it impossible for her to carry a foetus beyond a certain stage of its development.

To strengthen it, doctors inserted a cervical cerclage, also known as cervical stitch, which is used to ensure the foetus does not slip down towards the birth canal before reaching a full term pregnancy.

Despite employing this common technique, Ms Haji was still unable to complete a pregnancy until she saw Dr Muhammad Al Hassoun, a specialist in obstetrics and gynaecology at Zahra Hospital.

Dr Al Hassoun attempted a rarely used abdominal cervical cerclage, which inserts the stitch through the abdomen instead of the birth canal.

“Naima Haji’s case was very complicated,” he said.

“Not only did her uterus rupture during her first pregnancy but it was a severe form of Bicornuate uterus meaning that it was basically split in half.”

Naima Haji, 38, was born with a malformed uterus. Ramon Peñas / The National 
Naima Haji, 38, was born with a malformed uterus. Ramon Peñas / The National 

It was a risky procedure, but necessary, said Dr Al Hassoun.

“She was under full anaesthesia for more than an hour and we had to make a cut in her stomach while she was sixteen weeks pregnant. There were many risks but there was no other option.”

Ms Haji also had to be on complete bed rest until her scheduled Caesarean section at 37 weeks.

Their son, Maher, was born healthy on August 13.

“Foremost I am grateful and thankful to God for blessing me with a baby but I am also so grateful to Dr Hassoun who completely changed the treatment method and the medications that my wife was on,” said Mr Eldeen, who owns a perfume company.

“We can’t really celebrate in these times but our happiness is beyond words," he said.

“I want people who are facing difficulties conceiving to always have hope and never to give up.”

Updated: September 17, 2020 01:11 PM

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