It was my second pregnancy so I knew all the normal things to feel and what would happen to my body. I was 24 weeks pregnant when I knew something was wrong I started to feel very strong pressure pains on my cervix, the pressure you would feel when you’re 9 months pregnant. Not taking any chances I took myself to Campbelltown Hospital to get checked. With all the tests done everything was cleared, but to be sure I was sent for an ultra sound the next day.

During the ultra sound the look on the nurse’s face said it all, something was wrong. I was told to go immediately back to Campbelltown Hospital, the doctors and midwives would be there waiting for me to discuss everything. With my mum by my side I was told that my cervix was shortened to 1.5 cm and my membrane was bulging. The doctors started to go into detail of what the next steps where, as there would be a high chance of an early delivery. Their words shocked me and then the room went silent, I could see them talking but I couldn't get my head around what was being said.

The following day 25th August 2011 I was booked into feto-maternal unit at Liverpool Hospital for a second opinion and the final decision on what would happen next. This time it would be an internal ultra sound and with my husband holding my hand it began, there it was again the look of concern and worry on the midwife and doctors faces. We were told once again the risks we were facing. One of the options was to stich my cervixes; this came with the risk of the stitching breaking my waters. Not taking any chances of an early delivery and the risk of losing our baby, I was admitted into Liverpool Hospital straight away as a high risk patient. In the doctors words ‘I was a ticking time bomb’.

After getting more tests done in a delivery suit, I was taking to the maternity ward where we were met with two doctors from NICU ward as well as a doctor and midwife from the antenatal ward.  The doctor and midwife from the maternity ward explained to us what would be happening over the next few days, I would be giving a steroid needle to help develop our baby’s lungs in case of an early delivery, I was also giving Progesterone tablet to be inserted every night to help harden my cervix’s and a needle every night to stop blood clots.  They explained that in the next day or so I would be transferred to the antenatal ward where I would be closely monitored.

Then reality really hit home, the doctors from the NICU explained to my husband and me about everything that they do in the ward as well as the survival rate of a baby born at 24 weeks. They needed us to come to terms that there was a high chance of losing our baby and that we would need to start thinking and organising certain things. The fact that we were facing a high chance of losing our baby was hard to come to terms with , I couldn't sleep at all that night so many things running over in my head ‘How can this be happening ?’, ‘ Was I working too much, was that why?’

The next day I was transferred to the antenatal ward, it would be my home for many weeks to come.

I was bed ridden for the first 33 days with my bed elevated up to take the pressure off my cervix, I was only allowed 8 steps a day. I can't say it didn't start to take a toll on me emotional, there is only so much television you can watch and magazines you can read. I was giving an information pack from the NICU ward containing information on what they do and stories from people in similar situations. I let it sit there for the first few weeks I wasn't ready to read or process any of the information.

I started to stitch a pillow for our baby girl which helped me relax and pass time, but also to help me deal with the emotional roller coaster I was on. There would be days where I would just lay there crying I found myself getting very depressed.  With so much support from our family and friends, phone calls, messages and visits I found myself putting on a brave face acting like I was fine when inside I was falling apart.

Trying to get my head around everything that was happening was the hardest part. What was happening to me and our unborn baby was not only affecting me but my husband and our eldest daughter, having to explain to a 3 year old girl that mummy wouldn't be home for a while was heart breaking to say the least.

I started to write daily entries about how I was feeling and the changes/progress on what had happened each day. I found it helped me come to terms with the situation I was in. I still did have my off days where I couldn't cope with being in a hospital bed - hearing other mothers giving birth and mother’s being rushed off for emergency reasons. There were times I would think of packing up my belonging and walk out of there. Then I would feel my baby girl kick, as if to say ‘we will be fine mum’, that small movement helped bring my mind back to reality. At the end of the day I was in the right place for our baby girl’s health and to give her the strongest chance at survival.

I continued to have regularly check-ups, fortnightly ultrasounds to make sure our baby girl was growing & putting on enough weight. After a visit from two ladies from the Miracle Babies Foundation I decided to finally read the information pack I was giving on my first day in hospital, as well as the information I received from the ladies. The information provided helped me realise what work was done in the NICU ward as well as inspiring stories. After reading all the information I understood a lot more about what was happening and the situation our family was in. I was offered on a few different occasions to be taking up to the NICU ward to have a look for myself at the work they do. I decided not to go up until I was over 30 weeks and felt a bit more emotional stable. It was very helpful seeing for myself all the miracle babies; it gave me so much hope for our baby girl and her survival.

After 33 days of being bed ridden I was all cleared to start going for short walks around the ward, it was such a relief to be able to walk around and have a little freedom from my room. I would walk past the nursery smiling at all the babies while rubbing my stomach wondering who our little girl would look like.  Then the day came when I was allowed to go in a wheelchair outside with Blake and Dekoda.  I was so nervous going down the lift, I will always remember the first breath I took after 36 days being indoors with no fresh air, and it took my breath away. Then the panic and fear came over me, I was too far away from my bed, from the midwives that I started to have a panic attack and was taking straight back up.

At 32 weeks pregnant I had an internal examination to check my cervix and membrane. To everyone's disbelief my cervix’s had closed and membrane was not bulging anymore. After 41 days of being in hospital, I was discharged on strict instructions to take it easy and have weekly check-ups and to make sure I still had my progesterone tablets and needle every night.

Reaching 38 weeks on the 25th November 2011, at 12:30pm my water broke with contractions coming on very strong and close together. With my baby bag packed many weeks before hand, off to Campbelltown Hospital we went. After 6 hours of intense labour our Miracle baby was born, Talia Daisy Jennifer Pollard, weighing 3.350kg.Having Talia in our arms, being able to finally look into her eyes was one of the most precious moments, it felt like a big weight had lifted off our shoulders and she was safe.

Not a day goes by where I don't think about the experience we went through and how truly lucky we are to have made it through safely. I will be forever grateful to the midwives and doctors at Liverpool Hospital not only for looking after us physically but helping me emotionally come to terms with the scary situation we experienced and for all their support and shoulders to cry on. 



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