Why I'm taking part in Bliss Little Heroes - Tiffany's story

Tiffany, Nathan And Armani's Story Hero

On Saturday 18 June, Tiffany will be one of a host of mums and families taking part in the Bliss little heroes fundraising walk at Ipswich's Christchurch Park. Here she tells us why she's taking part.

I had a tough time throughout my pregnancy and birth due to pre-eclampsia. My son Armani was six weeks premature. His due date was 15 February 2016, but he arrived on 8 January. I was in the hospital a lot being checked and assessed to make sure Armani and I were OK, my partner Nathan and I had been told Armani would be delivered between 34 to 37 weeks as he stopped growing at 28 weeks.

When we got this news I was heartbroken and filled with worry. It was a very emotional time for us, not knowing what was going to happen and when. All we could do was try to be ready for him, as they might deliver him at any moment. I had midwife checks and was at the hospital every week for them to do scans and different checks to make sure Armani was OK.

Every week I'd pray that he had grown a bit more and weighed that little bit more. After each scan I was happy as he was growing bit by bit and I was one more week ahead. It got to 34 weeks and 3 days, I had a regular check with my midwife and at this time I had high blood pressure, so she sent me to the hospital where I was monitored. After being there a couple of hours I was then told that they were keeping me in overnight.

I was so upset as I knew what was coming. They told me if all was OK on the next day’s scan and Armani was doing well and still growing they would leave him inside me, but by the next day, Armani had gone downhill. As we got this news I broke down in tears. Nathan, always was so positive, told me “He will be fine, babe”. But I couldn't stop myself being upset: I was at 34 weeks and 4 days.

When I got back up to the ward the doctors came to see us and broke the news that our little man would be delivered today. Nathan was relieved as they would be able to help him – they couldn't do anything more for him while he was inside me. I was told I needed to get ready to go to theatre. It was lunch time, and he would be delivered before 5.30pm that day.

The waiting was the worst... knowing my baby was going to be delivered but not knowing what was going to happen. We got pushed back as a couple of emergency c-sections came in. Then all the doctors turned up in my room at 7pm that night.

I was so scared and so upset that I burst into tears as they wheeled me on my bed into the lift ready to go up to theatre. I said my goodbyes to my mum, and everyone else who had come to be with me. They all had tears too, at the thought of leaving me. As we went up to theatre I was so scared of what was going to happen. All the doctors, midwives and surgeons were all rushing around getting me prepared for the operation. I will never forget the look on Nathan’s face. Now he actually looked as scared as I was.

The epidural injection going into my back was very painful, but Nathan was my rock. He held my hand throughout the operation and kept asking me if I was OK and if I could feel anything.

By 7.20pm Armani was here. We were so relieved, but it was very emotional. He was so tiny. I had a quick glimpse of him and touched his face as Nathan held him. But then he got taken away and rushed into special care.

Nevertheless, after theatre I was so happy that it was all over and that our little baby was here safely. I was told he was doing well, and I had to go up to the ward to get some rest.

The following day I couldn't wait to go see my little boy but I wasn't able to as I was still so numb waist down and was very sick. I kept throwing up. I was so upset. The nurses took my phone and went to take pictures of him for me, but I felt horrible.

The next day I was determined to get myself up, even if I felt rubbish as I wanted to see my little boy. I got myself up and into the wheel chair and Nathan took me down to see him.

It was so overwhelming. I just couldn't wait to hold him. As I got him in my arms he looked at me as if to say “it's you!” It was like he was so happy I was there. His little face! I fell in love with him.

The next three weeks were very long -- visiting him and having to leave him at the hospital and go home without him. It was the worst thing ever! But he was in the right place and made such good progress. And then the day came and we were allowed to take Armani home.

We were so happy, but scared at the same time. Would we be OK at home without the nurses? Thankfully, the outreach team came home with us to check on Armani's progress. After a few weeks they discharged us, they were so happy with him.

Armani is now nearly six months old and doing so well. He is such a little character! So cheeky! We love him so much, and we can't thank Bliss and everyone at the hospital enough for all their help and support.

Bliss were great, they came and talked to Nathan and I when we were on the unit. We knew that if we had any questions or needed anything they were there for us.

That’s why, this weekend, I will be taking part in the Bliss little heroes event at Ipswich’s Christchurch Park. I will be raising money for Bliss and all the other sick and premature babies with my superhero fundraising walk.

• To organise a Bliss little heroes walk for little superheroes like Armani, please visit bliss.org.uk/littleheroes

If you have been affected by any of the issues mentioned in this post and would like support, you can view our online support pages. If you would like to share your story with Bliss, please email media@bliss.org.uk