My 33 weeker - Natasha's story

Natasha's Story Hero

Natasha shares her experience of being diagnosed with pre-eclampsia and her baby Isaballa's birth by emergency caesarean section at 33 weeks.

I had a great pregnancy all the way through until around six months, when I started to feel heavy and uncomfortable.

Everyone I saw including friends, family and colleagues commented on how swollen my feet were. I just put it down to water retention and thought it was normal.

It was at this point that I learnt: never ignore what your body is doing. If something is happening that you’re not sure of, don't diagnose yourself and assume it’s ok. Go and see your doctor or midwife straight away.

One day I was feeling really unwell and had awful neck pains. My feet were like balloons, to the point where I couldn't fit them into my shoes.

My husband and I went to an out of hours doctor, and when he checked me over he was very surprised to see me in so much pain, and looked shocked at the state of my feet. He asked me to give a urine sample, which showed protein, took my blood pressure, which was sky high, and told me that I had a severe case of pre-eclampsia, and that I must go to the hospital straight away.

I’d never heard of the condition before and started to research it on our car journey to the hospital. I started crying and panicking, as I read that in extreme circumstances the safest thing to do is to deliver the baby. All sorts of feelings and emotions were going through my head.

When we got to the hospital the doctors spent a few hours trying to bring my blood pressure down, until they decided that the best option was to deliver the baby. At 33 weeks pregnant I couldn’t stop crying - it was far too early, would she be ok? I've never felt so scared in my life.

Isabella was born by emergency caesarean section and weighed 3lb 11oz. When I heard her cry for the first time I felt a huge wave of relief. I didn't get to hold her, but my husband brought her to see me. It was incredibly emotional, as you can imagine.

She was taken down to the neonatal unit and I couldn’t meet or hold her for 24 hours, which absolutely killed me. The first time I saw her and held her felt amazing, but she was so tiny and had so many wires plugged into her.

It seems like a lifetime when you are waiting in hospital, but you have to stay strong and know your baby is in the best possible hands.

Isabella was fairly ill and didn't feed for ten days. She had an infection, which had to be treated with antibiotics straight away, so she kept losing more weight every day. After her antibiotics they slowly started to introduce milk back into her body, which was the best feeling in the world, knowing it was helping her get bigger and stronger every day.

It was the hardest time of our lives, as we sat staring at Isabella in her incubator all day, every day for three and a half weeks.

The day we walked in and found out we were being discharged was absolutely amazing, I couldn't stop crying with happiness and couldn't wait to bring our beautiful little girl home.

When you see how tiny they are, you think they’ll never look like a normal baby, but Isabella soon caught up and started feeding well. She arrived seven weeks early, but is now a happy, healthy six-and-a-half-month old. It seems like a lifetime when you are waiting in hospital, but you have to stay strong and know your baby is in the best possible hands. I can't thank the nurses and doctors enough for everything they did for Isabella and the way they were with us when we were at breaking point.

These miracles are little fighters, and will grow and develop to be stronger and more amazing each day.

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