You experience so many emotions when you find out you pregnant, your happy, excited, then suddenly nervous, scared all in one, just by looking at that little stick “shouting” +. Then suddenly dawns on you, you are caring a little human being, growing, developing, alive in you, and all the nervous scared feelings disappear.
You start to prepare yourself for the upcoming 9 months not just of your life but of your fetus, your unborn child. I found out I was pregnant on the 28 December 2010, early January 2011 went for my first scan, I was told I was 7 weeks pregnant, fetus was healthy and had a strong heartbeat, Expected Date of Birth would be 26 September 2011. I walked out there so overwhelmed, clutching my scans. I couldn’t stop looking at them with such heartwarming emotions and love. I never knew I’d feel this way to someone I haven’t even met yet.
All was going well, my 13 week scan was great baby showed well neck fold, but at 19 weeks I started bleeding at work, after being examined by Gynea I was informed was a start to a possible miscarriage so was booked off bed rest for 2 weeks. Next check up around 21 weeks showed all was good with baby, don’t know why had that bleeding scare but I was diagnosed with Placenta Previa, (Low lying Placenta, just above my cervix) I found out I was having a girl I was so excited.
I couldn’t wait to get something PINK.
Then everything felt like it was going down hill from then, gynea started noticing something by her face, thought she could be a possible downs baby that she didn’t pick up at 13 weeks, and my placenta was starting to deteriorate on the right side, she sent me to a professor to examine the baby from the ultra sounds, after 3 visits each over 4 hours long she determined she wasn’t downs but just never wanted to clearly show her face and possible cysts on my placenta causing her to not have sufficient space, or her movement wasn’t as much as it normally should be.
I was so busy at work for 3 days round 24 weeks, I work in retail and we were upgrading our system, I started complaining that Friday with lower back pain, Saturday 26 May 3 am I thought I was suffering with a week bladder but only to find out (after contacting gynea) that I ruptured a membrane (my water broke) hubby rushed me to hospital, I was put on a dialysis machine and was showing signs of contractions, they gave me a steroid injections (to help her lungs in case of premature labour) the morning went and contractions stopped, baby was stable but I was still loosing water so had to be kept in for the day for supervision, baby weighed 750g and I was only 24 week at the time. Next day I still lost a lot of water so had to stay until water stopped or until baby was big enough for possible C-sec.
Every day the gynea said we should wait till baby bigger, 2 weeks went past and I was still in hospital, and still loosing water, then at 5 am on the 8 June 2011 I started having really bad pains, worse “menstrual pains” I have ever felt in my life, but I was definitely having contractions, (I never got the chance to go to Anti-natal classes) so I just tried to remember what to do from books that I read etc, breath in & out, count the contractions, by 10:45 am I was dilated to 4 and the contractions were getting closer.
By 11:30 am I was rushed to theater, was fully dilated with a baby ready to come out, I couldn’t believe I was going into labor (after I was told due to placenta privea I couldn’t have natural) hubby arrived to hospital by 11:40 (in utter shock).
I finally started pushing at 11:45 (though I refused to before hubby got there) baby was born at 11:55am 1kg 26 weeks. We named our miracle TANIKA…..
She was perfect, beautiful, dark hair, so SO tiny, I still won’t forget how tiny she was, she was very blue in color cause the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck. Tanika was sent to Neonatal ICU, and put in a incubator onto a ventilator, I went under theater to get the placenta removed cause couldn’t push it out as it had detached from my uterus, in theater they also found out I had cysts growing on my placenta.
Tanika was off the ventilator the very next day, and was breathing on her own, she lost 150g in the first 3 days, and got jaundice. Every day was so hard, I was battling to get the amount of expressed milk they required for her, every 3 hours they feed and I still couldn’t keep up, she started with 1ml (which was still hard for me to get. My body didn’t quiet know yet that I had had the baby. By weeks end she was on 6ml every 3 hours.
Once I was discharged I decided to go to work (pointless taking maternity leave while Tanika was in ICU). I would express in the mornings, then go to work from 9am to 12pm, drive to the hospital, express again once I’m there. I would just sit there watching her, praying she will grow, be healthy & come home. I would check her chart and be so excited when she’s gained weight.
Around 3pm would be feeding time, she would have to be fed by a tube, so I would hold the tube while doing Kangaroo treatment. The skin to skin was the most, exciting part of the day for me, I couldn’t wait to hold her in my arms, her fragile, soft, little body in my arms, I will never forget that smell she had, it was hard to try hold her in between all the wires, keep her warm. My breasts would drip milk everywhere when holding her like this sometimes, it was very funny when did happen.
The Kangaroo treatment is the only best treatment that helps growth with preemies the stimulation they feel from you, hearing and feeling your heartbeat, your breathing, your warm loving touch.
I didn’t want to let her go, I would sit there for 3 or 4 hours at a time holding her, the world was quiet around me, it was just me and my precious Tanika.
Once I was under a lot of stress and felt so depressed with everything that my breast milk dried up & I couldn’t get sufficient expressed milk for her, so had to get donor milk, I felt like I had disappointed her already as a mother! But the milk helped me build up some containers while she had the donor milk, so I at least got ahead and felt a lot better after that.
She wore Little Miracle nappies the xprem size, they were the size of a blackberry phone, sat high above her little body had to be folded down, and her dummy was a Nuk prem dummy, only certain places sold them, it covered her poor little face.
One day in ICU the nurse’s noticed that Tanika kept desaturating on the machines they did a blood test & found that she had a low red blood cell count, my husband has the same blood type as her, so they drew blood for a blood transfusion for her to help increase the cells and her breathing, after 3 days she was back to her normal busy little self in the incubator, she was truly a busy little baby, moving her arms around so much, they always had to fix her little “nest” every few hours.
Days dragged and weeks rolled in Tanika was in ICU for 1 month and nearly 2kg, once she was off the tubes, she started being bottle fed more in between feeds to help her sucking, I had to bottle feed her one day and was such a challenge, took over 45 minutes to feed her 40ml, in between winding, feeding, winding, felt impossible, I was so nervous and couldn’t even manage at times without assistance of a nurse, I couldn’t bear to think how I will manage on my own at home.
Everyday when I walked into ICU I kept my hopes up, hoping if today will be the promising day she will be sent home, but sadly it wasn’t. Tanika spent 52 days in ICU,and FINALLY on the 6 August they told me she was ready to be discharged, she was feeding and finishing her bottles, sucking well and weighed a very good weight at just over 2,2kg.
I was beyond excited and was quickly overwhelmed with good luck and welcome home messages from all my wonderful, supportive family and friends. Those 52 days were the most, challenging, hard, emotional experience of my life! But was all worth it, as they say God Gifts you what you can handle, and he really gave us a challenge.
Home was a different world for her, she was used to the noises of the beeping machines, muttering nurses, and other crying preemies, so to be home in a room all quiet, alone and dark was very new to her, she was very restless and so were we, waking up every few hours to watch her, check if she’s breathing, just a sense of security.
Tanika was a very hard and demanding newborn, she suffered with Colic for 4 months and reflux for 2 months, constant crying and screaming drove me insane, I suffered with postnatal depression with it. But then I thought to myself, we went through worse, I must just be strong and calm.
She wore xx prem clothing till she was about 4 months (2 months actual) and only started wearing new born clothing round 5 months, and then by the time she grew out of 3-6 months she was nearly 8 months old, she’s now 20 months and wears 12-18 months.
Tanika has been such a blessing in our life as any newborn is, she’s a real gift, she is now such a beautiful, happy little toddler, she hadn’t reached her milestones at correct stages as full term babies.
She started crawling at about 10 months, got her first 2 bottom teeth about 2 weeks after her 1st birthday, top two at about 14 months, and started walking at 16 months, she’s little slower with the talking doesn’t say many words, but she is so cute, lovable, precious, petite, so clever sometimes, naughty and cheeky (as they all are) with beautiful golden curly locks of hair, big brown eyes and long eye lashes.
She is my ANGEL, my Miracle, love of my life and apple of daddy’s eye.
We would like another child one day when we can, but deep down I am scared it may all happen again, and though my gynea has reassured me that it may not, I’m still little scared. But what ever may be, if we managed and got through it first time, we more prepared for the next.
I love Tanika with all my heart, and will never ever regret or forget the experience we had, she made us stronger as parents, and me as a mother. She is our Precious Miracle….