Tiarna

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I was 20 and had just found out I was pregnant for the second time. I had a 3 year old son from a previous relationship and to see those two little blue lines again was a shock to say the least. My son Sean had developmental delays and suffered from frequent seizures caused by temperatures that were starting to occur without a fever but I was looking forward to becoming a mum again. Unfortunately, my relationship with my baby’s father didn't last and we didn't communicate much during the pregnancy but thankfully everything is great between us now and he is a fantastic father.

My pregnancy was fairly smooth although I didn't get a chance to enjoy it as much as Sean's seizures started to become more frequent and my focus was on him a lot of the time. I had an emergency C-section with Sean and this time I really wanted to have a VBAC birth if it was safe enough to do so. I wanted to feel a natural birth and I knew that if I had a C-section, I would not be able to do things such as lift Sean or drive for at least 6 weeks afterwards.

Because Tia's dad and I were not communicating I found a lovely Doula who helped and supported me throughout the entire pregnancy and labour and after the birth of Tia. She came to every one of my appointments, made me laugh when I was sad and shared all of the exciting times I had during my pregnancy. She was a stand in dad to say the least and we are still good friends to this day. 

The only real issues I had during my pregnancy were a low iron level that could not be raised and at 34 weeks I had an ultrasound to measure Tia as they thought she was on the smaller side. At 38 weeks pregnant I had a blood transfusion to help my iron levels and I felt so much better after that.

05/11/08 - At my 39 week antenatal appointment with my Doula and Sean in attendance, I begged my midwife to give me a "stretch and sweep". She tried but my cervix was too closed to attempt it properly, but she did try and so as much as she could. Ten minutes later, I was waiting at pathology for a blood test when my waters broke. I turned to my Doula and I said "I think my waters just broke" and her reply was "Are you sure you didn't wet yourself?” But sure enough after being examined at delivery I was told that my waters had broken but that I could go home. So I drove the 40mins home. My mum was livid when I pulled up as she had organised to come and get us.

06/11/08 - That night nothing happened and so I went shopping the next day (there were some really good sales on) but as soon as I got to Kmart and started looking around, my waters broke even more. So here I was with my mum rushing around finding new underwear, pants and maternity pads. The look on the Security personals face as I told him what happened was priceless but he let me go with the items and mum took the tags and paid for them. I gave him a very big thank you as I walked back in to continue shopping. As I stood in the lay by line at Kmart, I felt my contractions getting stronger and some passerby began to notice. We went home soon afterwards. Later that night I called my Doula and my best friend Amanda. Amanda drove me into the hospital and my Doula met us there. By the time we arrived I could barely walk and my contractions were only 2mins apart, lasting one minute.

Nearly the 07/11/08 - Tiarna's Due Date.  At 11pm that night I had an internal and it was discovered that I was only 2cms. That was it, my strength and will for a VBAC was gone, I asked for an epidural and a c-section. At around 2am my temperature shot up to 40 degrees and by 4am my epidural had worn off and I was ready to push (I had decided to see how I went) but by 5am, it was clear that Tiarna was not arriving without some help as there was an anterior lip in her way and her heart rate was dropping. I was rushed down to theatre where I gave birth with the assistance of forceps. Amanda was there with me as my tiny daughter was placed on my chest but I only got to see her for the length of time it took for the cord to be cut and for Amanda to take two quick photos. I didn't even see her face, all I knew was that she wasn't crying.

I kept asking Amanda over and over why she wasn't crying and with tears in her eyes, she told me "she will babe just give her a minute". Minutes later I asked again and this time a nurse replied with "She isn't breathing, they are doing CPR that is why she isn't crying". I couldn't comprehend what was happening. I wanted photos of my daughter being cleaned and weighed so I kept pushing Amanda to take photos of her. I didn't know those photos would be of Tiarna, blue and receiving oxygen and CPR. Moments later she returned and I asked again why she wasn't crying but before Amanda could answer a nurse came over to tell me she was being taken to NICU as she needs to be ventilated. I remember looking at the timer on top of Tirana’s bed and seeing 19:56 then 19.57. It was 20 minutes before Tia was stable enough to be moved to NICU and I still hadn't seen her face or heard her cry and I still didn't comprehend what had happened or how bad she was.

I went to recovery where my original midwife came to visit. She took Amanda to NICU to take a photo of Tiarna while my doula stayed with me. I could see the worry in their eyes but I still was in the dark. Amanda came back and showed me my daughter for the first time on the back of her camera. She was covered in a plastic sheet (Sterile field), with a ventilator and she was getting her umbicords put in. That is when it hit me. My baby was very sick.

Once I was settled in the maternity ward, I began to feel very empty. My baby was meant to be here with me not on another level of the hospital. I rang Tia’s dad to tell him I had her and that she was very sick and he needed to get here ASAP. It was the first time I had spoken to him since I was around 30 weeks pregnant.

Around 4 hours later I got to see Tiarna for the first time. Thankfully she fought the ventilator so she was taken off that but it was only just beginning to sink in that I couldn't hold her, I couldn't touch her properly and I still hadn't heard her cry. She was laying on ice packs to keep her blood flow to her main organs to try and give her the best chance. She also had two umbi cords, an ECG, a temperature monitor up her bottom, a tube in her nose (or sometimes her throat) and she was on an EEG for three or four days. I was most frightened about the EEG as I had experienced those with Sean, they are used to check for seizure activity and I was so thankful that hers came back clear.

10/11/08 - She was taken off the ice packs and her temp was slowly brought back up. Finally my baby girl was starting to look pink and not purple and blue. I also heard her cry for the first time and her little whimper sounded like a baby goat bleating. Sean also met his baby sister for the first time too although he didn't know what to make out of this little baby on a table with all these wires and tubes coming from her. I had tried to explain to him that this was baby Tia and that he was now a big brother. (Her name was given to her for him, Sean could say cuppa tea so we named her Tiarna, and nicknamed her Tia)

11/11/08 - The day had finally arrived. Tiarna had enough of her tubes removed and was well enough for me to have my first cuddle with her. It was amazing, I finally got to feel like I was her mother and she was my daughter. It is a moment I will forever cherish and remember. She was a fighter, just like her brother.

12/11/08 - This day was very busy for everyone but mostly for my mum. Sean was admitted into hospital for a day stay treatment of steroid infusions. So all three of us were admitted into the hospital, in three different wards. I tried my best to help care for Sean while visiting Tia but I was still suffering from my episiotomy which had become infected. Both my mum and I raced between three wards and I ended up expressing breast milk with Sean on the children's ward. The nurse that was taking care of him, also worked in NICU and so he pulled a few strings for me to get a pump. Later that day Tias dad came in again and he got to hold her for the first time too. He looked so proud of her. It was a beautiful moment. That afternoon I had a small surgery to repair all of the damage done to me with the infection and my episiotomy stitches were redone.

13/11/08 - The next day I was in a fair bit of pain and so it took me a while to be able to get upstairs to see Tia but when I did she was missing. I panicked and looked into all of the other humidicribs but I couldn't find her. Finally, the nurse from the children's ward who cared for Sean came up to me and led me to her. She was in stage two NICU next door. She was off everything! She was wrapped in a blanket and wore a little outfit, which I still have. I was so excited when he told me that I could bathe her that day. I practically ran and shouted it from the rooftops to everyone in my room that I could bath Tia. Thankfully the ladies in there were either still pregnant or had babies in NICU too so they understood the joy I felt. Unfortunately I didn't get any photos of her first bath as I did it practically solo. But I remember it as if it was yesterday.

14/11/08 - Even more good news! Tiarna did so well overnight that she could come down and stay with me in the ward for the night to see how she went. I had a lot of visitors that day and it was great that Tia's dad’s family were there to see me walk her out of NICU. It was an amazing feeling. She went really well that night. She slept like a charm (Although that didn't last) and I was even woken by a nurse to tell me she needed a feed. Mind you I didn't listen to her and she slept through for another 2 hours after that.

15/11/08 - This was Tia’s dad’s birthday and he got the best birthday present ever. The news that our baby girl could come home. It was also the day of answers. When Tiarna was finally discharged we found out that she suffered from Maladaption to Extra Uterine Life and had mild sepsis. The sepsis was thought to be caused from her passing through the birth canal and she got the same infection that caused my temp to go up so high during labour and caused me extra issues with the episiotomy. They thought it was because my waters had been broken for over 48 hours before she was born. Her apgar scores were 1 at 1 min, 3 at 5mins, 5 at 10mins and finally 8 at 20mins. She weighed 6pd 6oz or just over 3kgs, head circumference was 34cms and her length was 45cms.

Today - Tiarna is now a healthy 19 month old baby girl. She has got a severe developmental delay that affects her speech (She has only just started babbling) and her social skills but her fine and gross motor skills aren't too bad. She is a happy little baby with a beautiful smile. Her and Sean are adorable when they get along and like twins when they want to be naughty (As Sean is the same developmental age as her) Not a day goes by that I am not thankful for how healthy she is now and that her development is the only thing that seems to be affected by her birth. Sean now goes to a special needs school and when I drop him off, he introduces Tia (Baby or sometimes if she is lucky Baby Tia) to all of his school friends. Tia loves all of the attention.

The main thing I would like people to get from my story is that things can go wrong even when you deliver full term - I delivered Tiarna on her due date but that even if things do go wrong and your baby does end up in NICU for any amount of time, that doesn't mean it is the end of the world. Your baby is still your baby and they were sent to you for a reason. They chose you for a reason - because you have the strength to care for them, to advocate for them and to love them more than anyone else could.

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