Evelyn's Story, 32 weeks

Miracle Mum, Kirsty shares Evelyn's story.

"We are only early into our prem journey but reading some of the family stories, I found none seemed to be like our journey.

This was pregnancy 3 for me, and the first for my partner. This was not like any of my other pregnancies, from the incredibly difficult morning sickness, to having a large bleed at 12 weeks; which was a haematoma behind the placenta and baby was ok.

At 19 weeks I was put onto anti hypertension medication and at the 20 week scan we were told our baby was measuring small. I had a few trips into the maternal assessment unit to manage some high blood pressure periods until I reached 28 weeks; when it was no longer safe for me not to be monitored 24/7. I was put onto 3 agents and took tablets every couple of hours and still had blood pressure issues inbetween the usual medication doses.

At 29 weeks I was transferred swiftly by ambulance to King Edward Memorial Hospital due to another bleed and baby's heart rate dropping to below 60bpm on the daily CTG trace. I was constantly told to expect the worst, that I am going to get much more ill, or baby will, before she was to arrive. I was told that I had pre-eclampsia and both baby and I were at high risk, and that baby had IUGR and will need a lot of support. I was having ultrasounds every 2 days to check placental flow. It had been four long weeks during lockdown, where I was restricted from seeing my 2 older children and my partner was throw into parenting full time on his own, with kids that are not his.

The placenta flow had negative flows and I was asked if I thought I could manage labour. After the many days in hospital and my mental/physical well-being I decided that when the time came to it I would opt for the caesarean, because I believed I would have ended there anyway and would have put me and baby at risk otherwise. My pride was put to the side of wanting to labour.

As my partner arrived at his local football game, I called to say he needed to come to the hospital ASAP, that it was happening today. Within an hour I was on the surgery table and Evelyn was born.

Our little champion was on CPAP for a short period of time, and moved swiftly through the NICU wards in the early days as she fluctuated between health issues that arise with premature small babies. Evelyn had a nice little habit of deciding to stop breathing and turning a lovely dusty shade, the first times this occurred I just wanted answers; I wasn’t accepting it was just due to being premature. The doctors and nurses were amazing and understanding - answering the millions of questions all during lockdown, wearing masks and spending hours and hours at her cot side. For all the tests babies get, the worst I’ve had to watch for my own was ROP for their eyes - if you know, you know! My advice don’t watch.

As someone going through this now, Evelyn came home at 38 weeks; she is now 9 weeks (or 1 week corrected).

For anyone about to, or have just joined this journey, you are not alone! The NICU is full of parents just like you. Talk to the neighbouring parents to your baby, talk to your nurse, and your doctors. I am thankful for an amazing, understanding partner, also a best friend who had a 28 weeker and was, and still is, a wealth of information. If you don’t feel comfortable, reach out to these foundations, because the chats I had - it didn’t make me feel alone anymore. There is a light, and yep it may affect them for a few years, but by 16/17/18 years of age, you couldn’t even tell they had a rough start to life."

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