As told by parents Kainat & Piyush
Born at 29 weeks and weighing 490 grams (1lb 1oz), Amairah was given 30% chance of survival, with possible severe disabilities. She spent a total of 128 days in the NICU Auckland hospital, and is one of the tiniest babies born in New Zealand.
Before Amairah, we thought premature babies just sleep and grow in an incubator and go home after some time. We had no idea on what a NICU journey could be like.
On the 10th January 2019, during our meeting with the Maternal Fetal Medicine, we were given the dreadful news that no parents wish to hear. We were told that the baby was not growing well, the best case scenario would be to deliver at 30 weeks, worse case scenario – stillbirth.
Before we could process this information, we were offered termination for the very first time. It almost felt like a nightmare, we could not believe this was happening to us. The fear of losing our child was unbearable, but we found the strength and decided against the termination. We were offered termination two more times due to “suboptimal growth”.
We still remember that day when Kainat was admitted after a follow up scan to the hospital. The risk to both mother and baby was too high to send them home as Kainat had developed preeclampsia.
After spending 3 weeks in the hospital, waiting for the baby to grow while managing Kainat’s blood pressure and vitals, Amairah was born through an emergency c-section. She came out with a little squeal, covered in blood, barely the size of a block of butter. She was then whisked away to be resuscitated by the neonatal doctors.
After the surgery, the obstetrician noticed that Kainat had a rare pregnancy complication called Velamentous Cord Insertion (VCI). It only occurs in 1% of pregnancies. It is when umbilical cord does not attach itself to the center of the placenta and therefore the foetus has restricted blood flow leading to growth restriction.
Amairah then spent the first 128 days of her life in intensive care and we were in NICU pretty much all the time – coming at eight in the morning and leaving at about eight or nine at night, finally getting our first cuddle 12 days after she was born.
What Amairah has gone through, a lot of people haven’t gone through in their lifetime – chronic lung disease, apnea, bradycardia, bowel obstruction, 2 x surgeries, multiple infections, respiratory distress syndrome, retinopathy, multiple blood transfusions, ultrasounds, X-rays, MRI to name a few. She’s had a rough start, but she is beating all the odds. Whilst nearly half the average weight for her age at just under 5kg, she’s she’s healthy and happy. Amairah is the most incredibly beautiful girl with the a contagious smile and she’s stronger than anyone we know.
NICU was a tough ride, for Amairah as well as for us, our families, colleagues and friends. To celebrate her first year of life, we are raising funds for The Neonatal Trust, so they can continue to help families and support NICU needs.
NICU experience has humbled us and now we are very passionate about raising awareness for prematurity & Neonatal unit as more awareness can lead to more donations and more technological advancement.
Check out Amairah’s GiveaLittle fundraiser for The Neonatal Trust!
You can also see their article on Stuff here
The Neonatal Trust works to provide, and coordinate, support to families of neonatal (premature or sick full term) babies as they make their journeys through neonatal intensive care, the transition home, and onwards. You can see how your donations help by heading to this page.
Our heart felt thanks to the Iqbal family and all those who donate for their generous support. Your help will enable us to make a difficult start to life that little bit easier for neonatal families.
All the very best with the upcoming birthday celebrations!