My whole life, I’ve wanted to be a mother. In my year 12 yearbook, under ‘What I want to achieve’, I listed “to have 2.3 children, a Labrador and a white picket fence”. Life doesn’t always turn out how you plan it. In 2007, I lost twins. I started to believe that I would never have a child. I wanted it so badly; I started to think it would always be just a dream. I had failed at marriage. I had failed at pregnancy. Everything I had dreamed of, had hoped for, had failed.
Then, out of nowhere, three months into a relationship, with my now husband, I saw those two pink lines again. I was pregnant. I’ll be honest; I never actually believed a baby would come from it. I had very little faith. When I talked about it, with my partner, I felt like I was playing ‘make believe’. This was never going to happen. Because I believed once, and look what happened then? All the doctors kept telling me how ‘high risk’ this was. I was an insulin dependent diabetic and the pregnancy had been unplanned.
Everyone was getting so excited, and I wanted to tell them to shut up. This wasn’t going to happen. Stop talking about this as if it was real. Every scan we went to, I waited for them to tell me that, ‘Unfortunately, there is no heartbeat’. Those words echoed through my head, as I would sit in the waiting room, and wait for the inevitable. Yet they never said that. Every time, I would see that heartbeat, and think, ‘Wow! We dodged another bullet’. I can’t imagine what it must feel like, to go to a scan, and my biggest worry is, ‘is it a girl or a boy?’ The only thought I ever had, was ‘Please be alive’.
I had an anterior placenta, which meant I couldn’t feel movement for a really long time. Pretty much the worst nightmare of someone who doesn’t believe their baby will live. I think I only felt movement for about 4 weeks, before my waters broke at 31.5 weeks.
Two days after my waters broke, at exactly 32 weeks; I was rushed into the operating theatre for an emergency C-section, after monitors showed that my daughters’ heart rate dropped during a light contraction, and didn’t come back up.
As the nurses and doctors ran down the hall with my bed, people jumping out of the way, I thought, this is it. My baby is going to die. It felt so surreal, is this really happening? A week ago I had just gone on maternity leave, with two months ahead of me to prepare for my baby’s arrival. My baby shower was supposed to be the following week. How can this be happening? It was like a scene from a movie, everyone was running, doors were being shoved open, people were shouting. I have never been so terrified in my life.
I remember the first time I saw my daughter, the doctor holding her above the curtain, for a brief moment, before she was rushed over to the waiting paediatricians. I remember hearing her tiny cry, and looking at my partner as we both burst into tears. That’s her, our daughter! I have never in my life heard a more beautiful and amazing sound. She was rushed straight to the NICU, her father went with her, and she was hooked up to machines to help her breath, and drips and feeding tubes. She weighed 1.8kg, and was 45cm long. So tiny, yet so strong. I never imagined I'd have a premature baby.