The 23 Week Miracle | You're not from round here.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

The 23 Week Miracle

I received the text message when I turned my phone on at 7am on a Saturday morning, I thought it was a joke. Not a funny joke. I didn't understand why my friend would have sent it. Then I realised it was true. I felt sick and started shaking. I called her and she confirmed that she'd had her baby girl and that we all needed to pray that she would survive.

Less than two weeks before, she'd had her 20 week scan, a little bit late. Everything was fine and she had called me, all excited. She was exactly 23 weeks pregnant on the day her daughter was born, 22 weeks and 6 days on the day she went into labour.


On that day, she was in pain. Her back hurt and she was having very painful stomach cramps. She went to the doctor and he sent her away telling her to take a few paracetamol. There was no suggestion that she might be in labour. Later that evening though, when it was too late to halt it, she had her baby. She was told her baby would not survive. That because of the gestation they wouldn't resuscitate or help the baby. I cannot begin to comprehend how awful that must be.


But when her baby was born she fought. She showed signs of life. The doctors, for whatever reason, decided she deserved a chance. This tiny dot of a baby. Fighting. That was all she could do. She weighed 1lb 6oz, luckily above average for 23 weeks.


Born too early

I promised my friend I would drive down the next day. Then I baked. Cakes, bread, anything I could which I knew would provide sustenance. I called work and told them I wouldn't be in for a while. The next morning I drove straight from Yorkshire to Croydon, praying all the way.


When I got there I walked into a different world. Full of machines, monitors, wires. All surrounding tiny little babies. I knew there was nothing I could do other than support my friend. Her boyfriend, his mum and her parents were all there, along with another close friend. We all supported each other. Crying when we needed to, being strong when it was required.


premature baby

There were brain scans which showed no brain matter, doctors who said she wouldn't ever breathe on her own. She defied all odds. She came off a ventilator  and moved to CPAP, from that she moved to oxygen. Eventually she was free of everything.


She responded in ways they said she never would. The outlook, however, was always bleak. The doctors never daring to believe she might be able to do anything. Babies born later than her came in and unfortunately didn't make it. We were surrounded by a dizzying mixture of hope and sorrow. There was one baby in particular. He was born the same week but at 25 weeks. He fought long and hard but devastatingly he lost his fight when he was two months old.

I visited whenever I could. Getting trains down at weekends. Staying on floors or with family. I just wanted to help in the only way I could. Even if that meant just baking, I knew it was appreciated. I learned you could buy teeny, tiny baby clothes with special openings for wires. I bought them. Tiny little dresses which still swamped her. Throughout all these events, one thing remained constant. She fought. Incredibly, the only surgery she ever needed was laser surgery on her eyes when she was about two months old.


She got to a point where she was drinking well and stable on oxygen. We became more hopeful. On her due date, four months after she was born, she was discharged from hospital. A miracle. I have to admit that I always thought she would survive. Maybe purely because I couldn't imagine what would happen if she wasn't there. She became the focus for so many people for such a long time.


The day she left hospital, her due date.

She continued on oxygen until just after her first birthday when it was removed and she could continue with a normal life. She was a bit behind other children, but she learnt to talk, to walk, to run, to ride a bike, to draw, to write, to read. To amaze.


In March she will be six. My beautiful, intelligent Goddaughter. Life will never be as easy for her as it is for others. She will always find everything that bit harder than others, and always have to work that bit harder. She is in mainstream school though and is thriving.


Grown up premature baby

She is determined. A feisty fighter. A beautiful little girl who continues to defy doctors. She is astounding. Such a credit to her mum. She is loved and spoilt, because she nearly wasn't here. She arrived too soon but she is educating the world through her actions and will continue to do so. She is amazing.


Love you A. x

46 comments:

  1. What a lovely, heart-touching post. Thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a beautiful fighter :) thank you for sharing her story x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. It is a story which needs to be shared!

      Delete
  3. What a treasure of a girl. Preemies never cease to amaze me. Thank you for sharing

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is my pleasure. She is an inspiration.

      Delete
  4. it really is amazing how some fight so hard to be here, makes you winder what wonderful thing she will go on to do....apart from be her beautiful slef. I always say they have survived for a reason and the world os a better place for having them

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a wonderful way of putting it. I firmly believe she is here for a reason. She will be amazing in whatever she does.

      Delete
  5. You had me at "I received a text". Gripping and emotional, what brave little girl and what an amazing support you must have been, a true friend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much. I don't think I did any more than my friend would have done if it was the other way round.

      Delete
  6. That had me in tears. What an amazing little girl. And what an amazing friend you are too. X

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. I found it very emotional to write, even though it was nearly six years ago now.

      Delete
  7. Beautiful. A huge reminder that science doesn't know everything. It is also so scary to think that abortions are still legal to 24 weeks. Thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely, the thought that babies can be aborted at that stage is so scary.

      Delete
  8. This is an amazing story, thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's my pleasure. It really is a story which needed to be shared.

      Delete
  9. What an amazing story, I'm crying my eyes out. You are a fantastic friend and that little girl is so lucky to have you as her GodMother. x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much. I actually can't read it back without crying!

      Delete
  10. Amazing!! Im sat here with tear in my eyes....Thanks for sharing x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. I am glad I could share a happy story!

      Delete
  11. A truly lovely and heart felt post to read, what a fighter!

    ReplyDelete
  12. What a beautiful post, you have got my crying all over my keyboard, what a gorgeous little girl she is as well. A bit lost for words really.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aww, thank you so much. It was a very emotional post to write!

      Delete
  13. As the Mum of a 26 weeker I welled up reading this. What an inspiring story and a beautiful girl :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Oh my God. I have no words. And you were right, I'm crying.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Wow what an incredible story. A very special little girl who is clearly very lucky to have such a strong mum and godmum. You sound like you were a wonderful friend to them.

    It makes the issue that some hospitals refuse to help babies born under 25 weeks (or is it 24?), so much more real and so much more worth fighting for. I read a heartbreaking story once about a baby born 1 day short of the cutoff, born breathing on its own but the hospital refused to help. That baby survived on its own for three hours. That poor mum wasn't even allowed to bury her baby because there was no birth or death certificate. And like somebody above mentioned - people aborting babies at this stage is so wrong!

    Thankyou for sharing such an incredible story. Your god-daughter is a miracle child. xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh that is so sad. I am eternally grateful that the hospital helped her.

      Delete
  16. This is beautiful. I cried. But happily x

    ReplyDelete
  17. my cousin had to fight for the doctors to save his 23 week premature baby daughter too now she is a happy 6 year old.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's crazy, and awful that they have to fight to keep them alive.

      Delete

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.

nRelate Posts Only