Riding out her storm – Camille Gregory-Hall’s testimony
Windsor Forest, Manchester:
"I questioned God many a times and asked 'why me' then I started saying, 'why not me?' as I slowly found a way to come to grips with what is now my life - knowing I have God on my side ..."
These were the words uttered by Camille Gregory-Hall as she sat with Family & Religion to detail episodes of the excruciating mental and physical pains associated with having a baby after three miscarriages and how she continues to rise with hope as a child of God.
In 2011, Gregory-Hall, after experiencing serious pains and thinking it could possibly be as a result of gas, visited her gynaecologist only to be told she was indeed pregnant.
"Pregnancy for me was a no no. After three miscarriages, I had stopped trying, so it was the farthest thing from my mind. I started thinking about gas, cancer, and everything else but pregnancy. However, the doctor confirmed it."
"Eventually, because of the severity of the pains, I had to be admitted to hospital. The doctors did an ultrasound and I remembered clearly when one of them asking, 'Can you pray?'. I began shaking because I thought something must be wrong. They told me the baby was in the tube and an emergency surgery is needed. After doing two other ultrasounds, we found out the baby was not actually in the tube, but I had a cyst on my ovary which was causing the pain and the bleeding."
Throughout the pregnancy, Gregory-Hall had serious complications which resulted in approximately nine hospital admissions.
"I felt drained, my body was so weak, I threw up everything I took in. I literally felt as though death was knocking on my door and I thought I would die leaving my two children behind. This was about seven to eight months in the pregnancy when I was admitted, and after blacking out, the doctors decided they had to take the baby."
After a powerful prayer by her mother, Gregory-Hall faced the unknown with the conviction that she wasn't alone.
"I knew those prayers did not go in vain. As the lady strung me up, she told me that after going under the light, I would black out, but that didn't happen. I felt every layered cut, every stretch, I felt as they pulled the baby out, I was conscious of everything but they didn't know. I questioned God for two years and asked him why I was allowed to go through that and He said to me one day while I was sweeping that if I had gone to sleep I wouldn't have woken up."
The obstacles continued.
As the third-time mommy left the hospital to bond with her new son, she soon realised that the hurdles she had to conquer were far from over.
"All through the pregnancy, there was no indication that my baby would not lead a fairly normal life. One day, while home, I tried breastfeeding him, but he was not taking it (the breast). He started choking and turning blue, I ran outside and called to my mother-in-law, who happens to be a retired nurse. When she examined the baby, she realised he had an open cleft palate (large opening in the roof of the mouth)."
She continued, "We brought him back to the hospital and though we weren't pleased with how the issue was handled, we moved forward. Eventually, we contacted Bustamante Hospital for Children and a surgery was done to correct it."
As she breathed a sigh of relief at the success of the surgery, there was yet another problem to tackle.
"One day during my visit to the clinic, they realised one of his eyes was turning. I did many many tests and was told it could lead to blindness. I went through it once more - the ups and downs - but the surgery ended up being a success."
She further mentioned, "But our hurdles had not ended. Many people ask how me do it, but I just tell them, 'Why worry when you can pray'. He is now three, but he doesn't talk and the doctors were wondering if it's because of the palate. I'm on eight different clinics at Bustamante Hospital for Children and one at UWI and one at the Association for the Deaf - after doing a test, we found out he had fluid in the ear which had to be drained surgically."
faced with difficulties
That surgery was also successful but each day, Gregory-Hall is faced with difficulties that she is only able to overcome through the strength of the Almighty.
"Throughout all of this, I have grown spiritually. Throughout all of this, I've come to find out my baby is autistic and the challenges will come, but God has placed some people in life and I just have to give Him thanks. My daughter Rayonna, my son, Deshoy, my super supportive husband, Rayon, my mother, my church family, and friends ... I can tell you, God has been good to me."