Tommy's guest blog, Selena 29/06/17
After 5 years of trying, we were overjoyed to have been successful with our first round of IVF in March 2016. I was lucky, I didn’t have any pregnancy symptoms, apart from heartburn. Every day of the pregnancy seemed nerve wracking, and at 11 weeks, we’d convinced ourselves we’d lost the baby as I had a bleed.
We waited over the weekend, to have a scan to confirm, and were overjoyed to see a strong heartbeat and a very wriggly baby.
The next milestone was the 21 week scan, which was magical, we discovered we were having a little girl, and she was healthy. We finally started to relax, and enjoy the pregnancy, we even dared to start buying some furniture for the nursery.
One weekend in August, we were visiting friends and spent a long journey in a hot car, that evening, I became quite unwell with vomiting and abdominal pain. I assumed it was a bug or the heat, and by the Monday, I was feeling better and guilty for taking the day off work.
The next day I went into work, but still feeling really exhausted. I work in a doctor’s surgery, and was able to check my own blood pressure which was very high. I took myself to the day unit at the hospital, at this point I still felt fine.
My bloods confirmed HELLP syndrome, which means that my liver was severely affected, and they were going to have to deliver my baby girl at 26 weeks.
I was sent in an ambulance over to a hospital that can look after such premature babies. I still felt physically fine, and a bit of a fraud really. I was hooked up to several drips and placed in HDU on the delivery suite. I gradually became very tired and started to slur my speech, then after a snooze, woke up with extreme abdominal pain and started vomiting. At this point I was taken in for an emergency c-section.
My little girl , born at 1 pound 6 oz, gave a little squeak when she was born, but was quickly taken over to the resus station where members of the paediatric team fought to save her life.
She had a stormy start and was on a ventilator for 3 weeks. She made progress every day, and just as the team thought they’d need to help her further to get off the ventilator, she managed it herself. We were told like many other parents that it is a rollercoaster, they make progress one day, and then something will happen the next, and you are back where you started.
But Martha was a strong fighter, and she seemed to overcome every challenge put in front of her.
Martha was in SCBU for 3 months in total, and came home 1 week before her due date on 7th Nov 2016, just in time for Christmas. She was on home oxygen until January, and now there is no stopping her. Developmentally she is reaching all her milestones and she is as bright as a button.
Not a day goes by, when we don’t think about her difficult beginnings, and how lucky we are to have such an amazing little girl.
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Owen, co-author of parenting blog 'Love amongst the stars' opens up about navigating the emotions he felt after the loss of his son Kaspar.
Here at Tommy's we are fortunate to have a number of supporters who go above and beyond to help us continue our lifesaving research. One of these such individuals is Fran and this is her story.
"I truly feel without the support of the EPU and the peace of mind given to us through the Tommy's study we would not be where we are today."
Little Anderson was born under the care of the Tommy's Early Miscarriage Research Centre at London Imperial.