In light of World Prematurity Day, Mum of 3 Azra from @noaselenac speaks to us about her experience of giving birth to Noa.
- Can you describe what happened when Noa was born premature?
I had gone into hospital on Wednesday 19thSeptember 2018 as I woke up bleeding, so I spent a few hours in Triage and was sent home. I was informed that I had cells on the outside of my cervix which was common but I had to return if bleeding occurred again. This was going to be likely for the next day as I had many tests done and one was an internal scan.
So on Thursday I woke up bleeding again, it had stopped the day before whilst at the hospital. I returned to hospital with my 13 year old daughter Zahra to keep me company as I expected it to be routine. A nurse came into the room after a couple of hours and said 10 more minutes and we would be sent home.
Well when it came to the last 2 minutes Noa did a huge flip in my tummy and this caused every alarm in the room to go off. 10 Nurses came running in and began pulling my jewelry and clothes off. I felt absolutely fine and was more worried about Zahra who a second ago had been on snap chat and was now sitting chalk white with a petrified look on her face.
I told her to wait outside through the mayhem, call Dad and not to worry as everything was ok.
Well, 5 minutes later it was stated that Noa’s heart had stopped but her stats were now fine. However I was to stay in overnight!
That night and on Friday I was connected to every monitor going. Happy nurses/midwives came in to chat and said I’d be home the next day. Nothing I know of seemed unusual at the time. No beeps or alarms.
On Saturday, I was moved into my own en-suite room and was given a 1-1 midwife (I didn’t know this was even a thing!) At 3pm we were told we would go home in 15 minutes. At 3.15 my husband David was told to get our two daughters Zahra and Lilah to a family member and come straight back. My mum was unwell so he went straight to my sisters’. The minute he left they injected me with Steroids (to help Noa’s lungs to develop) and said ‘Just in case’. David returned at 4pm and again the nurses came in and began removing clothing garments. I was quietly introduced to an anaesthetist and then I realised I was in a movie scene where these unknown faces were above me pushing me down a hallway on a trolley with glaring lights above. An oxygen mask was put over my face and I remember counting down to 8.
Noa was born at 4.28pm on 22nd September 2018 weighing 1.24kg and 30cm long. I was fast asleep.
2. What thoughts were running through your mind at that specific time?
Honestly, I went into shock; I had never been this scared in my life before.
3. How premature was Noa, as you call her, your warrior princess?
Noa was 10 weeks early. She was born at 30 weeks.
4. How long was she on the NICU ward for?
Noa was in Nicu for a total of 87 days, she left on the 18th December. However, she was born in one hospital and was rushed that evening into Glasgow Royal Hospital for Sick Children specialist NICU ward. She returned to our local hospital on the 5th November 2018.
5. Did she have any health complications following her birth?
Noa has a small list, unfortunately:-
Chronic Lung Disease. She was on oxygen until end of May 2019.
A heart murmur (VSD) This healed itself by 13th February 2018.
Anaemia of prematurity – She takes Iron supplements daily
And Bowel issues that have now had their first surgery and one more major surgery still to come in hopefully May this year**. We return to the hospital regularly and she is looked after so well by NHS Scotland.
** Noa has now had her surgeries and is recovering well.
6. Did the limited time with Noa affected how you both bonded with her?
No. We are a very close family. I returned home every night to be with my older two daughters and I was with Noa every day except one in the 87 days for a minimum of 8 hours.
7. It must have been a really worrying time, what coping mechanisms did you use to help you through this time?
It was the most horrific time ever and I find it hard to even think about on certain days and I honestly do not want to sound corny but family love really gets you through these times. My husband is amazing, as are my daughters, but I am truly blessed to have 6 older sisters and 2 sister in laws.
My mother, unfortunately, passed away on the 10th November 2018. She was suffering with Delirium so even when she did come to NICU once she was very confused.
8. What advice would you give for those who are going through something similar?
Eat, drink and sleep. You are no good to anyone if you get sick as you will not be let near the baby with even a sniff. One day at a time. Stop daily and remind yourself everything that is worth fighting for and never forget to tell those you love that they are appreciated so much.
If you have other children, hold each one of them closes on separate occasions to make sure they are coping. It was already a life-changing experience for them but losing their Nani Umma too was devastating. They really are the best big sisters though.