“My baby was smaller than my hand, and it only proves how strong she is” - Sandra’s Story

Sandra 1

Sandra was meant to be going on holiday to America, when by surprise her baby was born at 24 weeks. She hopes that her neonatal journey will reassure other parents who have a premature baby.

My daughter Saint was born at 24 weeks in May 2017.

About five months into my pregnancy, I was meant to be travelling to America, but I started having pains in my stomach. One day afterwards I went to toilet and a bit of water leaked – I thought I had just lost control of my bladder. After this incident, I went to the doctors at Queen Charlotte Hospital just to check that everything was alright before I went to America.

I felt as though the doctor was rushing but he said that everything was fine and that I would be able to fly still. The following day I was going shopping to pick up some last essentials for my holiday, but the pains were hurting more and more, and it was becoming too painful. I had to call a cab to get home. The doctor told me to call the ambulance, who told me to get some towels in preparation for them arriving. I was so confused and shocked as to what was going on because I was only five months pregnant!

The paramedic told me I was 1cm dilated, and I kept thinking how is this possible? Why is this happening? Strangely a couple of weeks before, I was in church with my partner. During a prayer, he said that he could feel a bad energy around me and told me that we needed to pray for a healthy and safe delivery and birth. He told me that I would require an emergency c-section.

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So you can imagine how my body went into shock when we arrived at the hospital and my doctor told me a few weeks later that I needed a c-section. I had my pastor and sister with me, and we all felt very emotional – we tried to pray and prepare ourselves for the fact that my baby may not live. As a child who grew up in care and had been alone, I went into survival mode. I had my epidural and then decided to leave all my expectations to God.

When we got into the operating room, as if by a miracle my daughter was born before the c-section took place. The doctor picked her up and she breathed on her own for a second and then had to go straight into the NICU in a ventilator. She was in the NICU for five months, first at St. Mary’s hospital where she was on CPAP, and then we were transferred to St. Charlotte’s Hospital.

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The whole experience was an absolute journey - it was the last thing I expected to happen. At the time it feels so difficult, shocking and it’s really hard to process. I struggled with post-natal depression, but I promise that it does get better, and it will get easier. When my friends have been worried about having a premature baby, I can reassure them with my story, and I hope that through sharing my experience I’ve been able to reassure you.

Saint came home in September 2017, after five months in the NICU. She is an absolute survivor – although she does have some health complications, she’s now four years old and attends a normal school. I am so proud of her, so happy and thankful that she’s here. She’s a blessing and to think that she was smaller than my hand just proves how strong she is and what she can become.

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