My pregnancy was difficult at times. Not only did we loose the pregnancy previously but at our 11 week scan we were told the baby had gastroschisis. A mostly treatable but scary condition where the baby has it’s bowels & sometimes other organs on the outside of their body. Throughout the pregnancy doctors closely monitored the baby. I have enough ultrasound photos to wall paper my house! I tried my best to push any negative thoughts out of my mind & enjoy my beautiful growing bump.
I researched gastroschisis endlessly & started to come to terms with what we would be facing. On the bad days I would take solace in the ocean & it’s calming abilities. We all embraced the pregnancy whole heartedly & started to realise that we truly were having a miracle baby. My partner Andy & our 7 year old son Jackson would talk & sing to my belly.
The weekly scans would be very up & down sometimes positive & then the next week something new to worry about. But we stayed positive & enjoyed planning our baby’s arrival. I knew our baby girl would be coming early due to her condition & the fact that babies who have gastroschisis generally don’t survive in utero longer then 38 weeks. As the weeks crept on that was a thought that scared me.
I’ve always believed that babies come into the world when they are ready & the thought of an induction or cesarean seemed so forced & not the way I planned to have my daughter. But unexpected things happen in life & I’ve learnt you just need to relax & go with it! The doctors finally set a date for induction. We had been staying at a hospital which could cater for our babies needs for 3 weeks before the date was set. It was extremely difficult being away from Jackson & just having him with us on the weekends while he wasn’t at school. I was an emotional wreck & felt so torn between being with my baby at home & being in the best place possible for the life I was carrying. The day I went in for induction I was both nervous & excited to meet our daughter. I had the gel inserted.
Nurses came & went & nothing was happening. I spent a night on the ward & hoped that I would finally get see my daughters face the next day. A decision was made to break my waters & put me on a drip with a drug to bring on contractions. In no time at all things started happening. The contractions started & I knew it wouldn’t be long before our baby born. I was hooked up to monitors & drips & doctors & surgeons & nurses started coming in to talk to me about what would happen after my baby was born. I was in pain and their voices seemed muted & far away like I was in a Charlie Brown cartoon.
Andy was touching my skin & it was so soothing & peaceful. His touch & reassurance was the only thing that was comforting me. I love the connection when you experience birth with your loved one. It was the closest I’ve ever felt to anyone & the energy & love in the delivery room was overwhelming. A very short one hour and 20 minutes later & two quick pushes Mae Adalee Ilett entered the world to change our lives forever. There were doctors everywhere in the room but I felt like it was just Andy & I in that moment. They put her on my chest with her back to me on a piece of plastic to protect her bowels. I wasn’t allowed to touch her & I couldn’t see her face but Andy kept telling me she was beautiful.
I watched her little fingers moved as I cried with the love for my new daughter. She had a mass coming from her belly, which was all of her small & large intestine a Fallopian tube & part of her bladder. I knew what to expect but was certain the sight of her insides being outside of her body would be confronting for me but surprisingly I didn’t even see that. I only saw my baby. She was amazing & perfect. She wasn’t breathing right away & had to be rushed away to resuscitation. Andy followed & the nurses reassured me she would be ok.
They brought her back in all wrapped up & on a big crib. I couldn’t hold her but she opened her eyes and and stared into mine as I held her hand. I ached to hold her & feed her but I knew we bonded in that moment she looked into my face & she knew I was her mummy. Andy still says it was one of the most beautiful moments he’s ever seen. The weeks following were full of ups & downs. She spent 7 weeks in hospital. I cried with relief & happiness the day we brought her home it was such an amazing feeling to finally be able to have our daughter all to ourselves & be together as a family again.
Having a sick child is an emotional roller coaster but it is so grounding & makes you hold your babies close to you even more then ever. Every tiny thing Mae does is like a blessing I appreciate every little fibre of her being & everyday with her is a gift. I can’t wait to tell her about her journey & how special she is scars & all.