November is World Prematurity Month. To honour and support the moms of preemies, we are sharing stories of moms who’ve been there and who can offer support from the other side of a long road. This is Jadi’s story.
Tell us about the day your baby was born.
Where do I even begin? I had a difficult pregnancy from the start which was all new to me as my first pregnancy was a breeze. I started to bleed during my second month into my pregnancy, no test could determine what was causing the bleeding and there was no way of stopping it. The only thing that kept me going was that my baby was okay. I did every test my gynecologist could think of and took every vitamin she prescribed but still the bleeding continued. I eventually half lost the battle and I went into hospital and was admitted on Thursday the 11th July 2019. This was after I over bled while I was at work. Mind you, I drove myself to my gynecologist shaking and all. I was monitored and put on a drip but still the bleeding wouldn’t stop but my angel still had a healthy heartbeat.
On Sunday 14th July 2019 I was admitted into ICU, I had lost too much blood and needed a blood transfusion. On the night of the 15th July 2019 my gynecologist told me, we had to get my baby out, it’s the only way to save her. On the 16th July I had an emergency c section and gave birth to my tiny daughter weighing in at 880 grams. I bled so much during the surgery that they couldn’t stitch me up on the same day. They had to stuff my stomach with swabs to drain and stop the bleeding. I then went back into surgery on Thursday the 18th July 2019 to see if the bleeding had stopped so they could stitch me up. This is after my gynecologist had warned me that if my bleeding hadn’t stopped, she would have no choice but to remove my entire womb in order to save my life. I hadn’t seen my daughter since I last saw her while lying on the operation bed. By the grace of God the bleeding had stopped and I was stitched up and taken back to ICU. I spent Thursday and Friday sleeping not knowing where I was.
On Saturday 20th July 2019 I was admitted back to maternity ward and was finally able to go see my daughter who was lying in a mini-incubator covered with what seemed to be GLAD wrap plastic with blue lights on her as she had jaundice. At this point I went numb, I didn’t know what to feel. I spent over an hour just staring at her. I wasn’t allowed to touch her as she was all covered up. Still highly drugged with pain killers, I went back to the ward to sleep. I spent every second that I was awake in the NICU with her until I was discharged on Monday the 22nd July 2019.
24th July 2019 just after I left the hospital from my visit with my daughter, I got a call from her doctor that she needed to see me. With no one around to drive me I got into my car, with swollen feet and all and rushed to the hospital. When I got there I was told that her gut is torn and she needs surgery. All kinds of horrible thoughts ran through my mind at this point but I kept strong and gave permission for the surgery to take place. Her surgery was a success and 3 hours later she was back in the ward and I could go home and nurse myself. On the 25th July she opened her eyes for the first time with her daddy, when I heard the news I jumped for joy. The visits were never easy, not being able to hold her was killing me slowly but I was there everyday for hours on end. The nurses had told me to skip a day so I could recover but that never stopped me. Just when I thought things were going smoothly and she was doing well, we got yet another scare. On Friday 2 August 2019 they found out that she has an abscess on her liver but luckily the Sonar revealed that the abscess was small and she wouldn’t need another surgery they could just treat it, music to my ears. I carried on with the visits, they were hard and never getting easier, what also made it worse was her father and I could never visit her at the same time so we couldn’t even support each other.
Saturday 17th August we got to hold her for the first time, this was a dream come true. We finally had hope. Eventually, after many sleepless nights and wet pillows on the 9th October 2019 she came home on oxygen. I don’t think I slept on this day, I was up every 30 minutes checking if she was still breathing okay, what a beautiful long night it was.
On the 17th October 2019 a day after she turned 3 months we took her off oxygen as she seemed to be over-saturated. This was one of the scariest days ever, I monitored her oxygen level literally every 5 minutes. She, however, coped well and has been off oxygen ever since. Currently, my angel, Khanyisa, is weighing 2.8kgs and doing extremely well.
Can you describe some of the emotions you experienced during the early days and weeks with your baby?
I was numb at first, I felt like I had failed my baby in some way. I was then overcome with a sense of gratitude for my miracle baby.
Do you have any words of encouragement for a mom who is currently waiting for her baby to come home?
Giving birth to a premature baby is the same as going on a roller coaster ride. It is an up and down ride, you will scream and cry out of fear and in the same breath scream and cry laughter.