In today’s world taken over by social media all we generally see with pregnancies are perfect families, pregnancy shoots and the facebook week to week glowing reports. This isn’t unfortunately always the story for everyone. I recently reached out to another Premie Mumma that is part of the instagram community I am blessed to be a part of. I seen her insta stories reaching out and asking questions as a Premie Mum. At that moment seeing the emotion on her face I resonated with her, I was her 4 years ago. In talking to her it was pointed out to me that I hadn’t shared much of my journey of how I became a Premie Mum. I feel this is an important story to share as its not spoken about or shared about as often as it should be. When you are in that moment in the hospital you are in what I call the NICU bubble. The NICU bubble is a vicious cycle of counting down till you can hold your baby again, then pumping more milk and questioning yourself with what went wrong. You go over and over in your head the pregnancy, the birth. Is there something I did wrong? or could have done for a healthier outcome? It is an extremely lonely and heart wrenching time.
So today I share my story in hope that it resonates with someone so it makes another person feel they are not alone in their journey. Most importantly that its ok to reach out during this time. My inbox is open anytime to anyone that needs a friendly person to listen.
My pregnancy was a bit of a shock. My daughter is whats called a rainbow baby. I had miscarried a few months before. It was after a car accident even though they said it would not have been the cause, I do think the stress and adrenaline from the accident had an affect on how I lost the baby. I was still grieving the baby I lost when I got pregnant again. We had barely had sex since the miscarriage. Its like the age old saying it only takes once. We hadn’t been talking much and the loss had, had a profound impact on me. So I was shocked to see those positive lines on the pregnancy test.
The pregnancy was filled with complications of pains and regular bleeds. I had a cyst burst in the first trimester and I was terrified I was miscarrying again. The pregnancy for the first few months was monitored very regularly. To be honest due to the previous miscarriage I went through the entire pregnancy like a lot of women who have miscarried previously. I was in a constant state of worry that I would lose this baby too. It was always in the back of my mind every week was a bit closer and a bit longer this pregnancy had survived. I felt alone in the pregnancy and not supported. I am close to my Mum and my parents were living in Tasmania at the time. My Mum was my angel during this time regular calls and helping me sooth my aching heart from the loss and talking to me positively about the future with my child I was growing.
My baby’s Father was working on his honors thesis so was either at work or uni. It was probably the most alone I had ever felt going through the pregnancy and after living with a ghost of a partner. Two ships passing in the night.
As the pregnancy progressed and I got passed the halfway mark I started to not stress as much but just counted every week. Every week was closer to a healthy baby. I still kept getting random bleeds but the doctors were never too concerned as it was a small amount. Around the 32 week mark something felt really wrong. I felt like I was having contractions and my back was so sore. I went and got checked they did a fetal doppler test and bub was slow to respond but they got the readings they wanted and I was sent on my way and told it was “just Braxton Hicks”. Again at 34 weeks it was getting worse I got checked again and was at the hospital for a day but eventually they got the readings they needed and again was sent on my way. It made me question was my mothers intuition off? was I just projecting my fears of losing another baby?
The 36 week check was the day my life changed forever. I know its cliche but its appropriate to describe the events of this day. I went for my check again told the doctor that something felt wrong she wasn’t moving as much and I was actually smaller round the belly than I had been a few weeks before hand. I hadn’t felt movement since the night before. This doctor actually listened to me. They had a small ultrasound machine that gave them a basic look at what was going on. He checked and said I had to go upstairs immediately for another Fetal Doppler test.
Going up those stairs I was scared I knew something was wrong. I got put in a room alone as my Partner at the time had went to the loo and they hooked me up to the machine to start checking my baby’s heartbeat. Within 2 minutes they pressed the emergency bell on the wall. They couldn’t find a heart beat. 7 people rushed into the room I was told to get on my side. My baby’s father came back into a room of chaos filled with staff. He took one look at me and said what is happening? I will never forget the look on his face in that moment. I burst into tears so scared my worst fears coming to life and said I didn’t know. As we held hands I’m not sure how long it took them to find it but it felt like an eternity had passed when they said they had found a heartbeat but it was only 70 beats a minutes. They weren’t sure if it was my heartbeat or hers.
I was sent for a detailed ultrasound. It showed a heart beat it was slow very slow for a baby but it was there. They also said she was very small for the gestation and overheard them say something about no end diastolic flow. When they finished they asked me to go upstairs for the results and said I would most likely need to be transferred to King Edward Memorial hospital for an emergency c section. I was feeling so many emotions on the way back to that isolated room to wait for the results. So I called my Mum told her I was scared and didn’t know what was happening.
In all the rush of things and being a bundle of nerves I did what most people do I went for a nervous pee. When washing my hands I looked into the mirror and could not look at myself for more than a second. As my reflection showed every inch of what I was feeling and it hurt to see it all there in the open. I looked away and kept my head down while I finished washing my hands. I opened the door and the first thing I seen was feet in scrubs. As I lifted my head I realized there was an older female nurse standing there in full surgical scrubs asking if I had shaved down there? I said I didn’t think anyone would be seeing anything so no its a jungle. The lovely nurse said we better take care of that then. I was confused and asked what was going on. She gently explained there was no time to get me to King Edward Memorial Hospital my baby needed to come out now and she was here to prepare me for surgery……………………..