x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Husband's agony as wife dies after childbirth

Family of a British mother-of-five who died after giving birth to healthy baby girl speaks of heartache.

SHARJAH // The family of a British woman who died hours after giving birth has spoken of their heartache.

Nagina Sheikh, 32, gave birth to a healthy girl weighing 3.6kg in Central Private Hospital on Saturday.

But she began to bleed and died after an emergency operation to remove her uterus.

"To me she was more than a wife, she was my best friend," said her husband, Zeeshan. "We have been married for 10 years and she has given me five children - three boys and two girls. The eldest boy is eight.

"We were born in the same town in England, went to the same school, college and university, then we got married."

The 32-year-old said he was struggling to come to terms with the prospect of life without his wife - they had never spent a single day apart in a decade of marriage.

"Every time I cry, I consider the Prophet's words when he lost his son, Qassim, that the heart is aching and eyes shedding tears but we shall not say a single word that displeases our God," said Mr Sheikh.

The baby girl, who had not yet been named, was still in the hospital's nursery last night.

Mr Sheikh said his wife was told by her doctor in an earlier consultation that she would not be able to give birth naturally because her placenta was too low.

She spent a lot of time worrying about the delivery and searching on the internet for options, he said.

"On Thursday the same doctor told her that her placenta had moved so she would induce her and Nagina could have the baby naturally," said Mr Sheikh. "On Saturday she went to the hospital but she was worried.

"She told me, 'I have put your Emirates ID and iPhone on the table just in case I don't return'. I told her that she should not worry."

After giving birth, Nagina began bleeding.

"The doctors sent me to give blood five times. They suggested they remove the uterus and I accepted, saying, 'So long as you save her life'.

"I had to pay Dh5,000 deposit before she was taken to the theatre for the operation.

"After the operation they told me it had been successful and she was recovering. I sent an SMS message to her family in the UK but then the doctor returned and told me she had resumed bleeding. Finally they told me, 'Sorry, we lost her'."

Doctors issued a death notification and police officers arrived at the hospital to take the body to carry out an investigation.

Mr Sheikh said he was determined to remain in Sharjah to fulfil his wife's dream of bringing up their children in line with Islamic teachings.

He said the family had told his two eldest children about their mother's death, but had yet to break the news to the younger ones, who were "still waiting for their mother to return from hospital".

"The children were more steadfast than some of the adults," said Zaheer Fazal, 33, Nagina's brother. He travelled to the UAE from the UK upon hearing about his sister's death. "They came and kissed their mother's body."

Nagina, who had two degrees in history and a passion for graphics and art, moved to the UAE with her family from the UK 18 months ago. She was home-schooling her children using the British curriculum.

In the weeks leading up the birth, she was decorating the family's newly rented villa in the Sharqan area, as she prepared for her new baby and her parents' arrival from England a week after the due date.

The family requested the police release Nagina's body quickly for an Islamic burial.

The couple's parents flew in from the UK to attend the ceremony at the Sharjah Muslim Cemetery.

A police officer from the forensic laboratory said a post-mortem had been carried out and officers were still investigating. A spokesman for the hospital said he could not comment.

ykakande@thenational.ae