some of my friends and relatives are going purple tomorrow. all in the hopes to create awareness in the society of the severity of being prematurely born. and because Fateha is one of those strong, miracle preemies, i will go purple!
prematurity is serious. life can be so fragile. i remember being in the neonates, sitting next to the incubator everyday, praying that Fateha’s life would be extended so i could visit her and bring her home one day. i was there for her, every single day, because all i could think of was her. my priority was her. my own personal life, personal needs and wants were no longer important. i couldn’t concentrate at work; thinking about my little preemie’s being. because giving birth to a 26 weeker who weighed only 825grams was no joke.
how was she? was the doctor doing everything he could to make her survive the ordeal? were there any new upsets? were there anymore brain scans? did the ophthalmologist find her vision worsening, or did it improve? how was her intra ventricular hemorrhage,? did it get any better? there were so many questions flooding my every brain capacity.
there were many times when i felt like quitting my job and just stay in the neonates to look after my baby. many times! but i know, we couldn’t afford it, for the hospital bill was mounting. so i would rush to the hospital in a cab right after work; with bottles of frozen expressed breast milk in a small red cooler bag. and i stayed there for at least 4 hours before someone came to visit Fateha and fetch me home.
while i was there, many new things i learnt; from doctors to nurses and the occupational therapists. her condition was improving, she was maintaining her breathing, her Retinopathy of Prematurity (a disorganized growth of retinal blood vessels, and in serious cases, can cause blindness) improved, and she was feeding well which resulted in healthy weight gaining.
every preemie parent dreads going to the neonates to only hear things are not going so well. i watched many other preemies in the neonates going home happily with their proud parents but Fateha was still staying. no news of homecoming. each time i asked, the neonates staff would say, “don’t worry, she will go home once she is ready.”
the nurses there were the loveliest! some gave me advice, some tips on how to look out for this sign and that sign. hey, they even let me change the diapers from inside the incubator! that made me happy. i know, other moms would say “hah! changing diapers only, what’s the big deal?”
oh boy, it was a HUGE deal especially when your baby was a preemie and was all wired up. a little rough movement would trigger the alarm. oh how i hated those beeping noise makers! they always gave me a scare each time they beeped when i touched my baby. and carried her for the first time, 3 months after her birth, was heaven.
the memories of carrying her, we had to put on plastic aprons! like those butchers in the market, really!!! the reason why it took us 3 months to carry her (while other preemie moms in the US were able to do this much earlier) not because i was scared or nervous. it was because, there was a nurse who didn’t have the confidence to allow me to take Fateha out of the incubator. never mind.
we were more than happy when she got transferred into a high-dependency room; there was a bug going on in the main room (if i remembered correctly) hence the transfer. what we liked about it was because of the privacy that we had, although the room was small. soon after, she was all ready to graduate without the need to bring any oxygen supply home.
looking back at almost 6 years ago; the dark days that we went through, the nights that we spent crying and worrying, they are all bitter but definitely sweet memories. we thank everyone who have given Fateha the support that she needs, the caring hearts that prayed for her well being and also to those who looked at Fateha with nothing but complete ignorance. you have all been great!
so to show that you actually care (i know you do), you can wear purple to raise awareness of prematurity, tomorrow.
and i shall leave you with my favourite song, NICU At Night.