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 Kerry-Ann’s story.

 

Tell us about the day your baby was born.

I had been in hospital for a week already 25 weeks pregnant with twins and on strict bed rest. My mucus plug had disintegrated a week earlier and brought on early labour. The doctors had managed to delay contractions for 6 days but because the there was no protection against any diseases for the babies. I had incurred a serious infection that was affecting both them and I. It became imperative that the babies be delivered in order for us all to survive.

 

I remember laying on the table being prepped for an emergency c-section and just praying. I had never prayed so hard and so long. I even bargained with God and made all kinds of promises. All I wanted was for my babies to survive. I had read all the journal’s and statistics related to my situation and despite all the overwhelming information i was taking in, all I kept doing was asking God to keep my babies and I close to Him. I never got to hold or see them during the birthing process because they were unable to breath on their own and were immediately rushed to the NICU with dad. But when I did recover a bit from surgery I walked up to the NICU and when I saw them through their glass incubators all I could do was cry. I couldn’t hold them, I couldn’t touch them and I couldn’t comfort their tiny little cries. My son Xavi weighed 870g at birth and my daughter Aliana weighed 720g.

 

Can you describe some of the emotions you experienced during the early days and weeks with your baby?

The early days were really scary and overwhelming for both my husband and I. We didn’t understand the terms doctors and nurses were using, we could barely see the kids with all the oxygen tubes, feeding tubes and pipes leading in and out of the incubator. The doctors and nurses managed our expectations from the very beginning, they were always offering us reading material and counselling services so that we knew we were being supported. We took them and made use if them. We knew the kids would have to undergo numerous tests, and man was it a journey. Their lungs, their hearts their eyes, their ears,their brains their diets and the blood transfusions. I praise the incredible team that surrounded my kids and I am so thankful for them. It was a challenging time for us. I was anxious, hormonal and the uncertainty around their growth and development as well as their future weighed heavy on our shoulders.
The first time I got to hold my kids close to me (kangaroo care) was the first time I realised how resilient they were and how much i needed them to as much as they needed me. Initially the beeping of the machines and heart rate monitors would send us into a quick panic as it meant one of the babies had gone into bradycardia (slowing heart rate). But after a few weeks in the NICU dad and I became masters at stimulating the babies and it made us feel far more in control. We studied how the nurses handled our babies so delicately, how they fed, changed, bathed and weighed our kids and soon we felt encouraged and empowered to do all these things ourselves. We spent 3 months in the NICU and although we had bad days, we were ecstatic when our babies graduated and could finally eat and breath all on their own. Aliana was released at 1,9kg and Xavi at 2.1kg.

Do you have any words of encouragement for a mom who is currently waiting for her baby to come home?

Be brave, find courage in your little fighters. They are small but they are mighty.  Aliana and Xavi are now bouncing, babbling 2 year olds who steal my heart everyday.

 

Read more stories like this one.

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