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Prior to giving birth, I hadn’t heard of NICU

On the 27th of February Tia unexpectedly gave birth at 26 weeks. Her baby was breech and transverse and required an emergency c-section. This was Tia’s first baby, and she had no idea what to expect, let alone what NICU was…

Here is Tia’s story:

Darcy is my first born baby and prior to giving birth, I hadn’t heard of NICU and I didn’t even know his life could be saved at 26 weeks.

The day he was born, I felt as though something was wrong and had my blood pressure checked on my lunch break at work but it was in the normal range, I decided I was just tired so I decided to have a healthy dinner and go for a walk after work.

My partner finished work late at 8pm and this was when I started having contractions but I was in denial and thought they were Braxton Hicks contractions. At 8:30 PM, I called my midwife and at this stage I couldn’t talk through my contractions and they were 1 minute apart. Looking back now, I realise my body was telling me to try and push.

My midwife advised me to go to hospital and she would meet me there. I told my partner not to worry about taking an overnight bag because we would go home later that night. When I arrived at hospital at 9:30 PM, the doctors checked me and I was 10cm dilated and baby was breech and transverse and the doctors were quick to get me in for an emergency c-section.

My whole body was shaking and I could feel how stressed the whole medical team was. The nurses couldn’t find his heart beat and could only hear him moving around. When I arrived in theatre, I asked to be put to sleep because I didn’t think I would be able to mentally recover and my contractions were so intense that I couldn’t sit still for a spinal block. My partner was quickly pushed aside and left in the dark. He was in so much shock and he thought he was going to lose me and baby.

When I woke up, I was on my own and no body had told me if my baby was alive. One of the NICU nurses brought my partner in to see me and he was so relieved to tell me our baby was okay and we were going to fight together to get through this. We spent 120 days in NICU, Darcy was on the vent for 12 hours, was on CPAP for 2.5 months, had 3 blood transfusions, he was treated for sepsis twice, overcame stage one NEC and had a hernia repaired in surgery.

Darcy came home weighing 3.8 kilos and breastfeeding. The journey was so long and painful but the NICU team made it all so much easier. I spent 16 hour days at the hospital with Darcy as it was so important for me to be able to breast feed him and for the 120 days, I would cry the whole way home when I had to leave. Mothers aren’t supposed to be separated from their babies.

We have now been home for 1 month and he’s smiling and making baby noises and my heart is so full. I can’t thank the NICU staff enough and I’m so eternally grateful for them. NICU was so hard but having my baby home now is helping me heal. There is no greater feeling than waking up to feed him and hold him close at 3AM. I’m so proud of my little fighter and I’m so lucky to have given birth to my hero.


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Have you found comfort in reading other parents’ stories? We get lots of grateful feedback on how reading these personal stories help new parents to cope with their own experience. Every family has a unique and important story to share. Share your journey and celebrate your story below.


Rebecca Strahan

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