Mother’s Day Miracle: Rare medical intervention saves high-risk pregnancy for Ontario woman

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Mother’s Day Miracle: Rare medical intervention saves high risk pregnancy
WATCH: She’s been called a rare 'force of nature' by her Sunnybrook medical team. But the only thing Brampton’s Tehmina Chaudhry wanted to be called is 'mom.' As we lead into Mother’s Day weekend, Melanie Zettler brings us a story about loss, determination, positivity and a medical marvel. – May 10, 2024

There was a list of diagnoses including incompetent cervix, uterine dehiscence and placenta accreta that worked against Brampton, Ontario’s Tehmina Chaudhry but her extremely weak cervix was the cause of several miscarriages.

“Incompetent cervix is something you don’t know you have until you have a loss,” said Chaudhry.

Tehmina had three losses.  The first happened at six weeks. But the next two would be horrific — both during the second trimester.

“So, I was forced to be induced and she came sleeping. It was a baby girl,” said Tehmina.

Tehmina got pregnant a third time in 2019 while she and her husband, Arif Hussain, were briefly living in Pakistan.  That pregnancy resulted in an emergency c-section. Another baby girl. This one was too tiny to survive past five days.

“We buried two girls, we lost (the first) one.  After you go through something like that, you know there’s only faith that can take you through it,” said Tehmina.

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Before she attempted a fourth pregnancy, Tehmina called Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.  Obstetrician and Gynecologist, Dr Grace Liu performed Tehmina’s first transabdominal cerclage – a stitch to support and strengthen the cervix. It worked and baby Eliza was born.

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“She needs a sibling. I always wanted a huge family. I love children,” Chaudhry told Global News.

With the success of the transabdominal cerclage, Tehmina and Arif decided to try for one more child. The ultrasound revealed the surprise of a lifetime.

“There’s three. And in that moment, I was so happy, but instantly my heart sank,” recalls Chaudhry.

Dr. Nir Melamed, a high-risk obstetrician specializing in multiples at Sunnybrook was extremely concerned when Tehmina presented at 12 weeks.

“So, triplets on its own is a very complex pregnancy but when you combine it with having a very weak cervix, it’s not a good combination,” said Melamed.

Fetal reduction was discussed but Tehmina resisted.

“God has given me these three children for a reason. There are three losses that we’ve had and there’s a reason for this…so, we’ve got to do something else,” said Tehmina.

Dr. Melamed called on Dr. Liu to consider another needle stitch to strengthen the cervix but this time, the procedure came with tremendous risks.

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“It’s just very hard to place a stitch in a pregnancy, let alone a triplet pregnancy,” said Liu.

This would be a first for Dr. Liu who, during the procedure, discovered another complication.  Tehmina’s scar on her uterus from two previous c-sections, had started to open. The first c-section resulted in a loss and the second delivered Eliza.

“You could see a hole in the uterus. It was opening up so, then I stitched the hole closed,” said Liu.  “It sounds a little, it sounds a lot crazy,” Liu added.

A tenacious Tehmina would continue to defy the odds. She was admitted to hospital at 21 weeks for constant observation but away from home, her husband and toddler, Eliza.

“Tehmina is a force of nature and she was set on doing everything she could to save these babies,” said Liu.

The next ten weeks would be scary and lonely, but Arif and Eliza would drive from Brampton to Sunnybrook to visit with Tehmina every single day, until this past November, when at 32 weeks, Tehmina gave birth to her healthy triplets: Azina, Zayan and Zaviyar.

“When you go through all the studies and the textbooks, this really defeats all the statistics, all the probabilities,” said Melamed. “She’s a brilliant mother.  She’s very strong, courageous,” said Arif.

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This Mother’s Day will be Tehmina’s first with four children she desperately wanted but never expected.

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