As told by mum Rebecca
Rewind back to almost three years on 17th December, when our little princess was born at 33+5 weeks weighing in at 2160g due to me having severe pre-eclampsia.
My pregnancy had been filled with morning sickness that didn’t want to go away, combined with the swelling of my feet and ridiculously high blood pressure which meant the early arrival of our daughter. We knew that it was coming, we just didn’t think it would have been as soon as it was.
I was lucky to have been referred to the hospital when things started looking like they might have been heading towards pre-eclampsia. Still to this day the hours leading up to having her scare me, it wasn’t until I looked back that I realised just how sick I was.
After having a fit the doctors decided that there was no other option but for me to have an emergency c section. Lacey was delivered at 11:07pm. I didn’t get to see her but my husband was able to assist with the umbilical cord before she was then rushed away to NICU in an incubator.
It was 3 days later when I finally got to meet her for the first time. I was still extremely sick and the doctors were not risking anything. I was given three photos of her which sat beside my bed, my husband would go between the floors at Christchurch Womens Hospital and give me little updates I wished I was there to be able to witness.
When I finally got to meet Lacy it was the most amazing thing I had ever experienced in my life.
I was so scared going into the neonatal unit that knew I nothing about, where people I had never met were looking after our baby girl. I had no idea what all the cords and tubes were for or what the machine beeping meant. The journey that we had through the NICU was tough and stressful, I myself was still recovering which didn’t help.
Lacey was born with a low birth weight, respiratory distress, the inability to feed and a few other issues. Every day as she got stronger, we would sit with her, hold her, talk to her and care for her as much as we could. I had been struggling with establishing my milk supply because I had been so sick and we were lucky enough to receive donor breast milk from the milk bank.
Christmas day was horrible for me emotionally, (the day after I was discharged myself) I didn’t understand how everyone could be so happy when my baby was in the hospital and not home with us. After lunch we had gone back to see her and she had been put back into an incubator because she couldn’t hold her temperature. This made me burst into tears and I was sure that all the staff must have thought I was crazy when it happened. They didn’t though and they helped calm me down and explain it was just a little set back.
After 3 weeks 5 days, ups and downs, lows and highs we were discharged from the unit and finally got to take her home. We managed to keep this a secret and surprised the family when we asked them to come and see us at home.
The staff in NICU were nothing short of amazing. I knew that every night when I had to leave, she was in the best possible hands she could be. Most days I cried when I left or on the way home. I still remember it like it was yesterday, the nurses saying every day, “don’t worry, you can call us at any stage and check on her” this was always reassuring for me.
The emotional stress that being in the NICU creates, is huge. But the help at every stage we received was astounding. There was always the offer of someone being there for you when/if you needed it.
We still have a few struggles with Lacey who is now almost three. We are about to start food school because feeding has been an issue since day 1 but she is such a bright and bubbly little girl. I look at how far she has come in this almost three years and it makes me think of all of the people that have helped us so far on our journey and I am sure there are many more that we will meet in the future.
There is nothing that anyone can say to a parent who has their child in hospital that will relieve them of the stress it brings. The one thing that I know is that in New Zealand are lucky to have places and people that offer the services and support that they do.
I can’t wait to tell Lacey about all the people that helped us and one day have her understand why the cause and need is so great no matter who you are.
Tupperware – helping make a difficult start to life a little bit easier
Need new Tupperware? Now’s the time to purchase! Rebecca is very kindly running a fundraiser for The Neonatal Trust by donating 10% of all Tupperware proceeds sold between now and 18th November (World Prematurity Day). Thanks so much Rebecca. If you’re after some great, new quality products, you can purchase via this link here. The process is easy, just register and place your order online and Rebecca will be in touch!
********** Thanks so much Rebecca **********
We get a lot of positive feedback from families in a neonatal unit who read these stories and feel strength, hope and positivity knowing that they are not alone going through these experiences and feeling certain emotions.
If you would like to discuss sharing the story of your neonatal journey, we’d love to hear from you. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Interested in how The Neonatal Trust supports families going through the stress and anxiety of a neonatal journey?
Here’s a gallery of support examples.