Looking back, I can’t believe how naïve I was at the time. There hadn’t been a baby in my family for 16 years. Here I was, 21 years of age, pregnant, and I could count on one hand the number of times I had held a baby, scary, very scary!
At the time Grant and I were completely unaware that we are probably the most disaster-prone couple on the face of this earth. We were newly married and disaster of any sort had yet to strike. As they say, ignorance is bliss, so we blissfully contemplated the prospect of impending parenthood.
I of course went straight into “Earth-mother mode” and spent many happy hours contemplating Active Birth Units, water births, home births, exclusive breast-feeding etc etc. There was going to be none of this drug-assisted nonsense for me, this baby was going to be born with the bare minimum of medical intervention.
Pregnancy was the biggest adventure of my life. A whole new world opened up for me and boy was I going to enjoy it. And enjoy it I did. Apart from the fact that I could not gain any weight at all, no matter how much I ate, my pregnancy progressed just fine. I relished every minute of it.
That is until week 29 of my pregnancy. I was at work, going about my business in the usual way, when all of a sudden I began to haemorrhage. And so began a couple of weeks of my life that I never want to go through again, ever! I won’t bore you with all the gory details, suffice to say that there followed a couple of weeks of bed rest, drips, injections, bed pans (aargh!) scans, cortisone treatment etc etc and more people peered at parts of me, that I would really rather keep covered, than I had ever dreamed was possible!!
Everything changes when something like this happens. All of a sudden every little twinge is analysed – is it normal, is it a problem developing, is it the onset of labour again, is it just wind – do I call the gynae, or do I wait? The beautiful pregnancy that I had been so enjoying became a nerve-wracking scenario of buying time for my baby to grow a bit more, for her lungs to develop sufficiently, for her to gain a couple of very, very valuable grams, all of which would make her chances of being born healthy that much greater.
At week 32 ½ our baby was delivered by emergency Caesar. Roxy was born weighing 1700grams. She spent the first 24 hours of her life on a ventilator and was then able to breathe on her own with the help of an oxygen box. She was not able to suck, so was fed through a nasogastric tube for a couple of weeks. Her lowest weight was 1,6 kgs at which point she slowly began to gain weight and get stronger. We finally got to take her home nearly a month after she was born.
I will never forget the moment that Roxy was born. I had been told that there was a strong possibility that I would not be able to hold her when she was born, but fortunately they were able to give her to me for a couple of seconds. At that moment, as this little scrap of humanity was placed on my chest, making little mewing sounds and looking for all the world like a newborn mouse, the whole world shifted for me. This was IT, this was the moment I had waited my whole life for. I’d found my purpose in life – I was a Mom!