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When I found out Amba was going to be born earlier than expected, my heart just shattered. I didn’t know what to expect, I didn’t know how I’d cope. At 29 weeks and weighing 2 pound 5 ounces it was hard for us to believe what happened over the last few hours and I couldn’t imagine what we were about to go through over coming months.
The first month was pretty scary; we were there every day by her side. And being there daily meant getting to know the nurses and doctors that would be taking care of her. I needed to know that she was cared for like I’d want to. We didn’t know what the machines did, what the alarms meant, what the various codes meant. And all of this we experienced! The very first time I saw Amba, I saw this tiny helpless baby with wires and hoses stuck to her body. I didn’t know what to ask; I was speechless and felt helpless. All I wanted to know is, will she be okay? Am I ever going to take her home?
I visited Amba every day and spent hours next to her incubator, watching her tiny body and personality develop. Like most babies in the neonatal unit, she had her share of problems and we had to take it day by day. Amba was in the unit for 56 days. Like all premature babies, Amba needed assistance with her breathing until her lungs developed, so had CPAP support. Fortunately she progressed well and after 10 days, she didn’t require any further assistance.
Another development need for premature babies is, Jaundice. From day 2 she received phototherapy and occasionally every so often thereafter. I learnt that Jaundice is where the baby is diagnosed as having exceptionally high bilirubin levels. progress and wSoon she was making excellent as moved from the intensive unit into the high dependency unit. However here she was commenced on IV antibiotics for suspected sepsis and was in isolation for 5 days.
I remember visiting one day & thinking that she seemed to be growing at rapid a rate, however, I thought to myself that she didn’t look quite right. I was later informed by the doctors that she had been hypoalbuminaemic which led to her swelling up with fluid. They started her on medication and after about a week my very chubby little girl went back to looking like she did the week before.
Slowly things were looking positive and Amba was moved to the Nursery room, which meant babies are ready to go home within couple of weeks. This was the last hurdle and all she had to do was establish her feeding. Just when we felt that we could start planning to take her home, Amba required a blood transfusion. Amba was found to have symptomatic anaemia which meant she had a very low hemoglobin number. They determined that she looked very pale, getting breathless and had stopped feeding properly so needed an immediate transfusion. I always hear about people who need transfusions because of surgeries or car accidents, but never a baby! While waiting on the blood transfusion she had a tube in her lungs for oxygen, an IV in her arm and another in her belly for blood and all kind of wires coming out everywhere. It took 6 hours to infuse 60ml of blood. There are various risk factors associated mainly those that can occur during the transfusion but thankfully the transfusion was completed without any problems. The next day Amba looked like she’d been on a sunbed as she was glowing red.
I’m happy to say after all the setbacks everything progressed well, Amba continued to grow. Like many premmies she just had to learn to eat, keep her temperature up, and grow. On 20th February 2012 after 8 weeks in hospital Amba was discharged. The nurses and doctors are absolute miracle workers and without them I would not have my little girl. We are grateful for their marvellous work and also for all the support we’ve had from our friends and family.
Amba is nearly 9 pounds and has no problems and her weight is consistent. She is still like a new born but we are hopeful that she will be a beautiful healthy girl in the future! Now all I am worried about, like every premmie mum, is will she be able to do everything as a full-term baby would throughout her life?