“I had to fight for my little girl” – Gemma’s story #ByYourSide

Gemma 1

Gemma’s baby girl was born at 29 weeks, weighing one pound and six ounces. Gemma shares the ups and downs of their three-month-long NICU journey.

My neonatal journey started with my second baby.

With my first little girl, I experienced bad postnatal depression even though she was born at a good size, full term and with no problems.

My partner and I then fell pregnant with our second child Bella, and I was concerned because I felt really different compared to my first pregnancy.

I felt poorly all the time and my bump didn’t seem to grow. My baby was showing on scans as small, but they didn’t seem too worried about her at first. When Christmas Eve came around and I had a scan they said they were concerned about her weight.

I then had to come back for an in-depth scan a day before New Year’s Eve we got told the news that my placenta wasn’t doing what it should for her and my amniotic fluid had really decreased in the last few days.

My only option was to have her soon, but they didn’t think she would have a good chance of surviving. My head was spinning - I went home and cried.

Gemma 2

I didn’t want to give birth to my baby if she was going to pass away and put my partner and I through that trauma later. We decided that I would go to the hospital and have a talk with the doctors to thoroughly discuss the pros and cons, but on my arrival, within ten minutes, Bella’s heart rate kept dropping.

They took me straight up to delivery and it was the scariest thing I have been through.

The doctors and nurses reassured me by saying that even though they couldn’t confirm if she would survive or not, but if they couldn’t save her then she wouldn’t be in any pain. I really didn’t want her to feel pain.

And so with that, my partner came and we went down to theatre and my baby girl was delivered by c-section. I was so overwhelmed; I couldn’t even look at her and it was a couple of hours before I could eventually meet her.

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I was so overcome with emotion. I felt happy and excited that I had another baby girl, but scared and worried that I would lose her. I had never seen anything so tiny and precious in all my life - seeing her be so strong made me realise that I had to put my feelings aside to fight for my little girl the way she was fighting for her life.

We had ups and downs in the NICU. I nearly lost her when she had multiple blood transfusion infections, but she was never on a ventilator and was off all breathing support within a month and a half.

My little girl spent just under three months in hospital, but she is now nine months old and weighs a stone. She amazes me every single day and this experience has been the best and worst of my life.

I appreciate everything and thank everyone who saved my little girl for letting me bring her home to her family, where we can love her for the rest of our lives.