'I was told to plan my baby daughter's funeral. Then something incredible happened.'

When Hiam Darcy and her partner Joe found out they were expecting their second child together, they were elated.

"We have a son who was born a good 13 years before Eve came along. So when it came to baby number two we felt a lot more ready. Plus, this time around was a textbook pregnancy," she tells Mamamia

At 36 weeks, Hiam noticed she hadn't felt much movement from her baby in recent days, compared to previous weeks.

Feeling a bit disconcerted about the lack of kicks, she booked herself in for a general scan and managed to get in that same day.

The medical staff heard the heartbeat straightaway, and assured Hiam nothing was wrong, but told her they would do some additional tests and measurements for peace of mind. Then the nurse became quiet all of a sudden.

"A doctor came into the room, at this point Joe my partner was with me, and he told us calmly that we had to go straight to hospital. He said the obstetrician had been notified of our pending arrival too. They didn't give us any more information, and I guess we were in shock so we just got in the car and drove quickly."

While in the car, they got a call from their obstetrician who told them to safely step on the accelerator and get to the hospital as soon as possible. 

"We arrived at the hospital and when we emerged from the lift to the surgery ward, we were immediately faced with a team of doctors all geared up and ready to operate. It got the shock of my life."


Hiam was then rushed into an emergency c-section.

Watch this video from Cerebral Palsy Alliance. Post continues below.

Video via YouTube.

The scan had showed Hiam was experiencing fetal maternal hemorrhaging. 

By the time they pulled baby Eve out of Hiam during the c-section, doctors said Eve only had about 30 mils of blood left in her. It's a miniscule amount, almost incompatible with life. 

Often times, the cause of fetal maternal hemorrhaging is unknown and it can occur quite randomly. Hiam's obstetrician described the complication as "like an internal car crash". 

At this point, Eve was put on life support as there was 15 minutes where she had no oxygen to the brain. For 11 days, Eve was on life support, and her family were told to prepare for the worst. Due to global brain damage, the experts gave her a one per cent chance of survival.

"We got through those days by literally putting one foot in front of the other. In those moments, you're surrounded by other parents in the hospital going through similar things. We call it friendships forged in fire, because we were all there for one another," says Hiam.


Hiam and Joe delayed turning off Eve's life support, even though doctors told her there was little they could do to keep Eve alive. Minimal brain activity showed up during assessments. In the meantime, they made plans for a funeral, picked a date, and took their final family photos together. A priest also did a christening for them.

But somehow, Eve managed to pull through.

Hiam and her daughter Eve. Image: Supplied.


"As we had what we thought were our final cuddles with our baby, her colour started to change. She wasn't as white. Then they tried feeding Eve and she responded well. Everyone was shocked."

As the days went on, Eve continued to show small signs of improvement, considering how much brain damage she had suffered during the birth complications. Doctors still warned Hiam and Joe of the potential obstacles they faced in the future, noting the higher risk of Eve experiencing numerous seizures, needing to use a wheelchair and having limited mobility or the capacity to talk.

Eve defied the odds though and as the years went on, Hiam and Joe finally felt more at ease. 

"Reaching milestones always comes super late. But when she does hit the milestone, for example when she first sat herself up or said her first word, the relief and joy we felt as parents was tenfold," Hiam tells Mamamia.

"She definitely has cognitive delays. She's around two years behind her peers. And she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy soon after the traumatic birth. The doctors said that diagnosis is directly related to the lack of oxygen she had in her first moments."

Now nine years old, Eve is sports-obsessed and living life to the fullest.

"She might not be winning the races, but she joins in on everything. It would be easier to list what sports she doesn't play," says Hiam. 

"These days her balance is better, and she doesn't need the ankle to knee orthotics anymore. The cerebral palsy mostly affects her left-sided muscles, mainly her leg and foot. But overall, she is doing really well."


Eve loving her sports. Image: Supplied.

From six to seven weeks old, Eve began tailored therapy that included physio, occupational therapy, hydrotherapy, music therapy and more. It was this early intervention and support from the Cerebral Palsy Alliance team that gave Eve the best fighting chance possible. 


From orthotics fittings to Botox injections in the muscles, the appointments for Eve are still incredibly regular and mostly handled by her dad Joe.

"I had to go back to work a year after Eve's birth, and so Joe has been her full-time carer essentially. The load on parents who have a child with special needs is real, and it can put stress on you financially. But that's why support groups and organisations are so crucial," says Hiam.

Eve is now an ambassador for STEPtember, where participants take the equivalent of 10,000 steps a day during September to raise money for life-changing cerebral palsy research. She has also inspired her whole public school to take part in STEPtember.

Ultimately, Eve and her whole family have gone through a lot and faced a lot of challenges.

But for Hiam and Joe to see how well their daughter is doing and all she is accomplishing - considering she was once given a one per cent chance of survival - it is very remarkable. Hiam is just particularly grateful for all the support they've received.

"I want people to know how incredible the Cerebral Palsy Alliance is, and what they've done for my family. Thanks to them, so many kids are thriving. And now Eve can thrive too."

If you would like to register for STEPtember or donate to Cerebral Palsy Alliance you can do so here. And you can read more information about STEPtember here

Feature Image: Supplied.