Willow

[image]Samantha Harris - Willow audrey harris 24 weeks birth resized.jpg

Miracle Mum, Samantha shares the story of baby Willow's early arrival into the world.

"Willow is my 3rd pregnancy and somewhere in my heart from the beginning I had a sense that something was going to be wrong. My friends thought I was just apprehensive after my 12 and 20 week scan came back clear. My girl was developing normally and looked liked a healthy bubba. I just couldn't shake the feeling.

On Monday 16th December my legs were hurting from my buttocks to my knees. I just assumed baby was sitting on a nerve. I attended the doctors that day with my dad as I am his carer and I spoke to my gp and she thought the same as I did.

Later on I went shopping with my 2-year-old and my two twelve-year-old girls to finalise Xmas shopping and oh my by the time I got home my legs were irritable. I remember thinking wow I hope it's not like this for the next 16 weeks.

I cooked dinner did the mum stuff and went to bed. At 3.30 am I woke up... because going to the bathroom 3 or 4 times had now become the norm. As I stood up I felt a gush and by the time I got to the tiles in my ensuite there was a pool of blood. My heart sank. I woke up baby's daddy and asked him to call our midwife and I called the ambulance and my mum. My head was spinning I packed a bag and woke up my 2-year-old to put her on the boob as she was still having one or two feeds and I didn't know when I would see her again.

In a blur the ambulance had arrived the next thing I know I was in transit to the Gold Coast hospital. I was trying to stay really calm as I didn't want to add anymore stress to the baby. I remember the lovely ambulance lady telling me I was the calmest mum in this situation she had ever had. It was no longer about me.

I was trying to be hopeful but secretly inside thought it was already too late for our little girl. When I got to the hospital bubbas daddy was there with my mum and I was amazed my baby still had an amazing strong heartbeat.

I was examined and told labour was too late to stop. I had started having contractions in the ambulance. The reality sank in. I thought I was going to deliver a baby that I was never going to take home.

The doctors gave me some steroids to try and boost baby's lungs and the plan was if I could keep her in for 12 hours that would be ideal to give her a fighting chance. Three hours later I was in theatre prepped for a classic c-section... our baby was coming and I was terrified.

Our little girl came out breathing. It's a life changing moment when someone tells you your baby is born. I didn't feel her come out as I was numb and I couldn't see her. About 39 minutes later she was briefly brought to me as she was wheeled to the ICU with her dad for a blood transfusion. After recovery and returning to a ward 12 hours later I met our little girl for the first time. Dad had shown me photos but I was yearning to see my baby girl.

As I was wheeled into the NICU my heart was heavy. I had never imagined I would meet my baby alive. She was so tiny and hooked up to a big machine and had a breathing tube down her throat. I felt so helpless. I couldn't do anything to help my girl.

Three days later I got to hold my girl for the first time and I have never experienced so much appreciation as I did in that moment.  My girl was still alive. She was perfectly tiny. She had all her bits in the right places just really early .

As much as I didn't want to know I started to ask questions about the quality of life my baby may be face. I couldn't even name her at this stage as I didn't want to if I lost her.  I thought this would make it so much harder.  I knew in my heart this wasn't the case but my head told me other wise.

The first 10 days went by so quickly. I was discharged and going back and forth from the hospital and still trying to be a mum to my 3 other girls . My 2 yr old had never been away from me for one night and was struggling with me leaving her.  

I started to feel detached to my baby. It felt like it was someone else's life. I am expressing for a baby that I cannot feed and cannot do the normal things a mum does with her new born. After having 9 pound babies I was out of my depth. Surviving on robot mode . I could never thank my partner and my family enough for keeping my house together and my children looked after as well as they did. Xmas day came and it was the hardest one I ever had. We all tried to get onto the spirit for the other kids but I felt empty. My baby's first Xmas and she wasn't home.

We are now at day 19. My girl is almost 27 weeks and despite a few complications she is still hanging in there fighting for her survival. The nurses are incredible.  I will never be able to repay them for their incredible efforts in assisting my girl to grow this far.

I have learnt to take one day at a time. We cannot plan anything anymore as you never know when that phone may ring. The first 4.30am call from the doctor was heart wrenching.  I didn't want to answer the call but knew I had to. My girl needed another transfusion. I'll never forget that call.

My life has changed in ways I could have never imagined. In three weeks I have learnt so much about appreciating the good stuff because there has been days where that silver lining has been incredibly hard to find. Everyday day my little girl is here is hopefully one day closer to coming home and that's what I live for."

Thank you Samantha for sharing your story.

 

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