MEET JEANINE DESATNIK

As producers at the same studio, Jeanine and I worked closely together for a couple years. We were also both pregnant around the same time except, I was due a trimester before her. Before I took my maternity leave I had a minor pregnancy scare. I  mistook Brickston Hicks for preterm labour. I was driven to Park Lane Clinic by another producer all the while my heart held in a vice as I tried not to think about what was going on and what the worst possible outcome could be. All I kept thinking was how this could not be happening. Not now, I kept thinking. The thing is about being pregnant, theres a comfort in the schedule and milestones. You're less apprehensive with the journey and the changes because you know what to expect with each trimester. Theres a plan and well, plans are good. I had planned to have a natural birth and even when we discovered that Akani was in breach, we had time to adjust to that change and make a new plan. Change hospitals, as I was planning to give birth at Genesis then and to pick a date. A couple days before her emergency c-section, as Jeanine was sharing the latest and unfortunate developments of her pregnancy, I couldn't possibly imagine what she and her partner had gone through receiving the news and what they still had to go through. The doctor told them that her placenta had calcified and she had lost all her amniotic fluid.


Tell us about the day your daughter was born. 

Well unlike most families our daughter was born 3 months early. It was extremely scary and traumatic. My daughter Liya Ami was born on 16 February 2011 at 28weeks gestation and weighed 670g, and as such was considered a microprem. She was 33cm long and her head circumference was 23cm. At birth her apgar was 1 at 1min and 5 at 5min. She was in ICU/High Care for 3 months. She was on ventilator for 1 week and then went on to oxygen flow.


My hospital experience was horrible and I would hate to have to go through that again. I never moved from the labour ward to the maternity ward, as the hospital didn't want me to be in a ward with mothers that had babies as "I didn't have my baby with me." Liya was taken directly to the neo-natal ICU, where she stayed for 3 months. I was told I could touch her but not hold her, explaining that the babies that are so premature are very sensitive to touch. This is due to their skin not being fully formed yet, so we should only hold her hands and feet. Although the nurses in the neo-natal ICU at the Parklane are fantastic re: care, dedication and commitment to the babies, they never answered any questions we asked with any level of hope for us. Every question we asked was received with the 'worst-case scenario' answer and the 'best-case scenario' answer. That was extremely tough, but although the doctors and nurses didn't give an indication either way, I always knew she would be OK.

On about the 5th day of her being in ICU, the baby boy next to her (who was born at 30 weeks and was over 1kg) passed away. That day was extremely difficult, as the reality hit that we were still very much in the danger zone. I had witnessed babies having stomach operations as the premature babies have a tendency to rupture their stomachs. Liya caught the "hospital virus" about 1,5months in and she was put into isolation. When we visited, we had to sterilize from head to toe and wear aprons,shoe covers and gloves. During Liyas stay in isolation (which was probably 2 weeks) she looked terrible and we were very worried. She pulled through and only after she was stable did one of the nurses explain how dangerous this virus was,  saying that it had even killed adults. Shortly after that she was promoted to high care, which was a great news as she was on the road to coming home and out of any danger zones. Everything went smoothly from there on and at 1,8kgs and 3months old, we we finally able to take her home.

Liya is now 2 years and 4 months old, weighs 10kgs. She has met all her milestones so-far and the paediatrician is extremely happy with her development. She is in nursery school and the teachers are very happy with her progress, her speech, motor skills and development.

Liyas Personality

She has the most wonderful disposition, always smiling and reactive to her surroundings, is extremely clever but I'm sure all moms think that of their first child. Liya is a very friendly and compassionate child. She loves other children and being part of the fun. The one special thing that we share is at bed time we hold hands until she falls asleep.

 We love her to bits!



Work life/balance? 

Before I had Liya there was no work and life balance but when she was born something switched inside me and my family will always come first.

Adjusting to motherhood has been … 

Adjusting to motherhood comes naturally but at the same time I have found it very difficult from a time and responsibility point of view. 

Whats been the most surprising aspect of motherhood? 

The most surprising aspect of motherhood for me is my tolerance levels and nurturing ways towards my daughter. I think the attitude I have towards my daughter not only surprised me but surprised people who know me.

How would you describe your home? 

We have just moved into a new home so that Liya has more space and a garden. So far we are loving it as we've been able to entertain and have been alot more sociable. Liya loves the new house.






What do you want most for Liya? 

What I want most for Liya is for her to say as happy and healthy as she is!

Parenting advice.
The best parenting advise I received was from the pediatrician when we left the hospital and that was " Don't come to my office for everything, don't listen to others, you are educated people and will know when or if there is a real problem. Do what you think is right!




Check out the blog again for a peek into the life of yet another JOHO MOM. 
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JOHO MOMS is about bringing motherhood into a relatable, inspiring and aspiring space. I wanted to create a space where mothers felt safe enough to share their respective challenges, their highlights as well as our parenting philosophies to fellow newbies. If you'd like to share your story please email johomoms@gmail.com - Our passions, spaces and children

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