"Our first baby, our baby girl Darcy was born at 33 weeks, on 1.2.23 at 12:23 weighing a delicate 1700g. Darcy was delivered via emergency caesarean due after us battling severe preeclampsia for 3 weeks prior to her birth. At her 20-week growth scan she was measuring average at 50th centile, and rapidly dropped down to 4th centile at 28 weeks, my placenta had already started suffering and was unable to provide Darcy with the nutrients she needed to thrive. We had been diagnosed IUGR but not diagnosed preeclamptic. The following weeks I knew deep within myself that something was right. I had started feeling generally unwell daily, with severe swelling of feet, legs, hands and face and bouts of painful headaches and starry vision. It wasn’t until 30 weeks I was finally diagnosed with preeclampsia, transferred to a different hospital, admitted straight away and put on bedrest for the foreseeable future. Only days later I ended up with severe preeclampsia and was developing HELLP Syndrome.
Each day was gruelling, feeling horrendously unwell and on many medications, with unpredictable blood pressure spikes, being told they were waiting for one of us (Darcy or I) to deteriorate enough to deliver her, as the doctors were trying to get us to 34 weeks gestation. The midwives took my husband and I for a tour of the SCN to prepare us as much as possible and we were given Miracle Babies info packs and gifts to help us understand and navigate the situation we were faced with. Needless to say we didn’t quite make it to 34 weeks, and on 33+6, after decrease in her movement and no accelerations in her heart rate on the CTG monitor we were immediately rushed up to theatre for delivery. She was born about 20 minutes later weighing 1700g and thankfully, to the surgeon’s surprise, she came out screaming. My husband was only brought into the OR as she was being lifted out because they weren’t sure if she would be conscious or not. She was then taken straight away and worked on by the doctors, they briefly showed her to me but I couldn’t touch her, then Darcy and my husband left immediately to SCN. Feeling very overwhelmed and terrified I laid alone in recovery for almost two hours as my blood pressure was still too high to be taken off any monitoring, my oxygen levels also began to drop so I was placed on oxygen until stabilised. Once stable I was taken in my bed to SCN where I was able to finally meet my baby girl, and hold her on my chest.
The first few days of her life unfortunately for me are an absolute blur, a hazy memory, I was on three different blood pressure medications all of which had drowsy side effects, along with pain killers for the C-section recovery, I felt like a shell of a human. I was terrified I wasn’t going to form a bond with my baby, I was still grieving my pregnancy ending so soon and I was so scared for her health, as well as my own. I felt so sad seeing other mothers walking around the ward with their babies, and I cried every time I saw my own laying in the SCN crib.
Luckily for us Darcy was an absolute fighter and kicked goal after goal with her progress. After dropping down to 1550g she managed to regain her birthweight within a week and my milk finally came in around day 5-6. After 12 days of tube feeding expressed milk with added calories, we were able to try breastfeeding and I was over the moon that Darcy took to it so well, she rapidly gained weight and we were able to take her home after 18 days in SCN. She now weighs just under 4kg and is changing and developing so much every single day.
Despite ongoing health issues as a result of preeclampsia and HELLP I am just so happy to have our little girl home and the way she completes our lives is indescribable. It was a tremendously difficult journey to get her here, but she is oh so worth it."
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