For Henry Jude


I never got to hold you,
Hear your first cry as you protested your welcome into this world.
I never got to touch you,
Check your fingers and toes to see if they are all there.
I never got to see your first smile,
And see you open your eyes for the first time.
I was so excited when I found out about you,
Knowing that you were growing in my tummy,
I knew that now everything I did,
Like eating and taking care of my health,
Would be for two, me an you.
I loved you so much,
And prayed over you,
That you would come out healthy and strong.
I sang to you,
And told you stories about our family.
I never thought that when you would be born,
I wouldn’t be the first to hold you,
That my milk would not be your first nourishment.
I am lying in a bed,
Fighting for my life,
Because I know that you need me.
Baby, be strong,
Because mummy loves you!
My little baby,
Keep growing strong,
And do all the things I thought we would do together.
I know your dad is taking good care of you,
Hold on Henry Jude,
I know one day soon I will hold you,
And we will play together,
And do all the things I planned for us to do together.

From Mum

This poem is for Henry Jude, whose’s mother Claire Ojwang was in High Dependency Unit (HDU) of Aga Khan Hospital, Nairobi at the time of writing this poem. She had never seen him. She later passed away.

Ps. The part below is what happened at the time.

Part of the story from mummy tales is copied here.  Claris Ojwang, 26, was beaming with joy as she and her husband anticipated the birth of their second born. Two weeks to her due date, her husband George accompanied her for an ante-natal visit. Despite her swollen feet, which are characteristic of many pregnancies at that stage, the doctor assured the couple that all was well, though he recommended bed rest for Claris.

But the following day, things went awry. While resting at home, Claris suddenly collapsed and after being rushed to hospital, underwent an emergency CS where her second son, Henry Jude was born. Today, Henry Jude is a bouncing, healthy five month old boy. But sadly, the same cannot be said of his mom. Claris slipped into a coma after the birth of her second born.

Claris had developed pre-eclampsia, a life-threatening pregnancy related condition whose symptoms include high blood pressure, accompanied by protein levels in the urine. Pre-eclampsia usually appears during the second half of pregnancy, and it can be fatal.

Claris continues to fight for her life in the High Dependency Unit (HDU) of Aga Khan Hospital, Nairobi. She has never laid her yes on her son Henry Jude, she has never held him in her arms; he has never suckled from her breasts. Thankfully though, Jude is well taken care of by his father George Ojwang, who has taken to playing the roles of both mom and dad to their two sons – Henry Jude and three-year old Haroun James. All three of them terribly miss the woman in their lives –Claris’s warmth, cheer and laughter. As days go by, they pray and hope that she will recover and return home to them.


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  1. I almost cried when writing this post. Imagining how a mother would feel not being able to see her new born baby after planning for it and dreaming about the big day. I don’t have children but I can remember how I felt when my nephew was born and I imagine how much more intense the feeling is for a mother. Let’s keep Claris in our hearts and minds. Let’s pray for her and let’s support her family. Thanks.

  2. Your story Clarita has made come this far. I thought my life would end on 28th of July 2012. I was on complete bed rest for two months at Nairobi Hospital. I did everything a mother could do so that I could have my two sons. when my babies came early and baby Ethan passed on after 2 hrs and watch my 2nd boy heart rate drop on the machine and leave me too a day after I knew my world was crushing. walking out of the hospital empty handed yet I had so much hope,was going to kill me till I read your story 2 Days after I was discharged. And Clarita you are a Heroine. You will be a living testimony, i pray for you daily. Hang on fellow woman, we were created strong. I am this far because of you,I decided to remain strong and fight like you woman.

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