Monday, October 25, 2010
THE PREM JOURNEY – THE BIGGEST OF HILL CLIMBS
My name is Kyla, and I loathe bikes….or so I thought until 3 weeks ago. As you know we are a group of Mums who were thrown together by a twist of fate. From November 2007 until early January 2008, all of our worlds came crashing down when we gave birth to extremely premature babies. Whatever the outcome, our lives would change forever.
Rewind back to 29 December 2007. Only four days after Christmas and life was good. The old dude in the red suit had been kind, I was 5 months pregnant with our long awaited baby and my husband Mark and I were on top of the world. As it was the holiday season, Mark and I decided to drive to Wellington for the day for a spot of shopping. While we were happily trawling the streets of wellington, not a worry in the world, 6 babies I would soon become to know very well were in Wellington NICU fighting for their lives; 11 days later Eva became one of them.
My waters broke in Wellington that day, at 22 weeks gestation, and I was admitted to Palmerston North hospital that night. I was flown to Wellington Hospital on 8 January 2008 and at 23weeks 5 days gestation our darling wee girl was born at 11.33pm weighing 475gms, and so the roller coaster began.
The next few weeks were all a bit of a blur, our heads were spinning, we were on one very steep learning curve. Our journey wasn’t typical for a 23 weeker, Eva had a surprisingly good start to life and we were told she was doing very well. This was so hard for us to comprehend because she was so tiny and frail. After 10 days, things changed rapidly. The next four months were an extremely emotional and traumatic time for us all. Eva was one sick little girl. She never did anything by halves, she would be fabo well one day and then would hit rock bottom the next. She crashed so many times, I dreaded the phone ringing at Ronald McDonald house because it was usually the hospital to say she had taken a turn for the worst, get here fast. I feel sick just thinking about it.
But somehow she got through. After 4 months in Wellington NICU and 2 and half months in Palmerston North Neonates, our little girl came home. And now almost 3 years on it is time to give thanks. Thanks to the incredible medical team at Wellington NICU who saved Eva’s life and never gave up on her. Thanks to the Neonatal Trust who provided us so much support by way of a friendly smile, shoulder to cry on and offerings of hope in what seemed sometimes a very hopeless world. A huge part of this too is to say thank you to the incredibly bunch of women who ARE Pushing It For Prems. Nicola, you are the first person I met and were so kind and lovely to me when I was still in a state of shock. Tamar, I remember vividly seeing you for the first time too, Mitchell had just had his PDA ligated and you were in room A lovingly watching your son. You were always so friendly and positive and gave me hope. Debs, we were never in the same room were we?! We both walked those halls for so many months and you always gave me your lovely smile (plus you knew when to look away too which is equally as important). Anna, you my dear are loveliness personified! We were very briefly Ronald McDonald inmates at the same time, and you always looked so together! I’ll never forget meeting Greer for the first time, she was such a huge inspiration to us and I clung onto hope that Eva would one day follow suit and transfer out then make it home. Lynette, my wonderful Sister-In-Law and very dear friend, you were such a huge support to us while Eva was in hospital, you kept the home fires burning and it is something we will never forget. Your support didn’t stop when Eva got home, quite the opposite, you are still my number one support person to this day and it is only right that you ride with us. Eva told me today that you were her best friend (that’s my spot how rude), she loves you and Uncle Paul so much and is absolutely besotted with her cousins Thor and Luca. Thank you for everything, we love you all.
And finally, Liza. Liza, Liza, Liza. What can I possibly say that will cover what we have shared together? We have stood back and watched while each others babies have been teetering on the edge of life, we have witnessed things that nobody should ever have to see, and felt things together that nobody should ever have to feel. But also somehow we also managed to have a laugh, in such a crazy intense environment, we would sometimes be sitting there in hysterics! It was a wonderful escape from realism and I value your cheeky sense of humour so very much.
Having an extremely Premature baby is not something you would choose for your child, however if I had to choose the people I would share my journey with, I couldn’t pick a better group of women if I tried.
Despite Eva’s start to life, she is now a happy, chatty little girl who brings so much joy to those around her. She does have some visual impairment, but this doesn’t hold her back, her personality and feisty little nature carries her through. She is very headstrong and not a fan of the word No. Mark and I are so proud to be her parents, she is the centre of our universe.
If you are the parents of a baby in a Neonatal unit at the moment, the one bit of advice I can give is to please never, ever give up. Not all babies survive, that is true, but sometimes, just sometimes miracles do happen. We know this first hand.
So after the longest blog in history….my name is Kyla and I loathe bikes….rather - I loathe the bike seat! I’m sure my bottom is bruised. I’m finding the cycling surprisingly enjoyable, and I even did some hill work yesterday which went better than expected. Thank goodness its not a race, I think a snail could get up those hills quicker than I do. I have the final leg of Taupo, my goal is to do it in 2 hours and to NOT get off at Hatepe Hill! Bring on the Finish Line and the bucket of ice for my backside afterwards!