I found out I was pregnant in late March 2011. It was a Wednesday morning. I remember feeling extremely happy yet scared to death. This was huge! My boyfriend and I had always discussed having children but never set a plan as to when we thought might be the right time. It came as a surprise but nonetheless a very happy one. I went on to a doctor and everything seemed to be going normally. I religiously read “What to expect when you’re expecting” and received the BabyCenter emails. Week to week they would compare my baby to a piece of fruit. I was delighted to be experiencing pregnancy. My doctor sent me at 26 weeks to Regina for an ultrasound. Not because anything was wrong but just to have a really great experience. On the way there I remember feeling sharp pains and later was diagnosed with a bladder infection. Then it all changed.
I was in constant discomfort feeling short of breath, my body ached all the time. I could hardly get around and even though I had barely gained a thing I waddled like I was 9 months pregnant and ready to deliver any second. I could get no relief. Sleeping was impossible. I spent many days in bed upset and depressed because I was so uncomfortable but knew I still had at least 12-14 weeks to go. It was Tuesday, September 20th and we went to the hospital. I remember like it was yesterday. I was having extreme chest pains. My blood pressure was skyrocketing. The doctor came the next morning and told me I had the HELLP Syndrome. A life-threatening obstetric complication usually considered to be a variant or complication of pre-eclampsia. She said to get to Saskatoon and prepare to have your baby by the weekend. What? No, I’m feeling better. Please let me go home. We’re not ready.
Once in Saskatoon, it all happened pretty fast. My placenta had been detaching so the baby hadn’t been growing. She was starving. The only cure for the Hellp Syndrome was to deliver. It really was a life or death situation. I was only 29 weeks. They started to induce me on the Friday. I turned 30 weeks that day. Sunday the 25th Avaeah was born via emergency c-section. None of this was in my birth plan. I did everything I was supposed to do. Why was this happening to us? She weighed 900 grams. The size of a 26-27 week baby. The first time I saw her in the NICU full of cords and tubes I couldn’t believe my eyes. She barely looked like a baby. The doctors and nurses were amazing. Although they could never give us definite answers as to what was going to happen they were comforting and I trusted them completely. I had no choice. We spent 11 weeks in NICU. It was a month before I could hold her and even then it was only for a few minutes. Day by day I sat and stared at her. The ringing of the monitors in the background. After a while, you tune them out. We definitely had our ups and downs. 3 steps forward and 2 steps back seemed to be the norm. I always tell people that for what the experience had to be, even though it wasn’t the hallmark card birth we all plan for, it was good. I couldn’t change what was happening, I had to embrace it. I had to be strong for my little girl. I feel like I appreciate motherhood more because of our experience and being her mother is a gift.
She is truly my little miracle baby. She had everything against her and now 2 years old she is the most perfect little being I have ever laid eyes on. I can’t say enough wonderful things about the doctors and nurses. They are real life hero’s and we will always be grateful for the care they gave Avaeah. My now husband proposed to me in the NICU. It was 3 days before we were discharged home in bay 6 in front of the nurses and other parents. A complete surprise but a no doubt a wonderful one. A perfect ending to our journey in the NICU.
Our success is warranted to the tremendous support BloomNICU receives from local community through corporate sponsorship and from the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation of Saskatchewan. A variety of sponsorship packages are available.