I would do it all again

Cathlen Fourie re­counts her tur­bu­lent preg­nancy jour­ney and says that de­spite the dif­fi­cult ex­pe­ri­ence, she wouldn’t change a thing!

Living and Loving - - BABY & TODDLER -

Iwas 32 weeks preg­nant when my waters broke with my sec­ond child. My hus­band is a pi­lot and he was in the Cen­tral African Re­pub­lic on tour at the time. At first, I thought it was just one of those things that hap­pen dur­ing preg­nancy, but as I re­alised I couldn’t stop the flow, I went cold all over. It had been a dif­fi­cult, high-risk preg­nancy. I had suf­fered two early mis­car­riages, so this child would be our mir­a­cle baby.

I phoned my mom, my hus­band and a friend, and fi­nally ac­cepted that I was in labour. I had a full emer­gency plan and was able to quickly set it in mo­tion. An hour later, I was ad­mit­ted, still leak­ing am­ni­otic fluid. The baby’s heart rate was checked and the nurse called my doc­tor. Luck­ily, con­trac­tions hadn’t started yet, so I was put on med­i­ca­tion to help ma­ture my baby’s lungs. My hus­band man­aged to get a flight back and spent the next 10 days by my side as we waited for our baby to gain enough weight to be de­liv­ered safely.

The C-sec­tion was sur­real and al­though I was awake, I can’t re­mem­ber much. It was cold, and I was shak­ing and nau­seous most of the time. The doc­tors had to put im­mense pres­sure on my chest to help push the baby out and since there was no more am­ni­otic fluid, the am­ni­otic sac had to be cut care­fully to free my baby. My son, Hano Liam Fourie, was born on 7 June 2017, weigh­ing only 2.2kg. It was both the scari­est and hap­pi­est day of my life. The time lapse be­tween de­liv­ery and his first cry felt so long. The doc­tor laughed hap­pily when Hano gave that first cry, sat­is­fied that the med­i­ca­tion had helped his lungs ma­ture. Hano spent 13 days in the neona­tal in­ten­sive care unit; he couldn’t latch prop­erly as his suck­ing re­flex wasn’t fully de­vel­oped. He also started bring­ing up his milk af­ter feeds.

There are no words to de­scribe how aw­ful it felt to leave him in the hos­pi­tal when I was dis­charged. When he fi­nally reached his goal weight and was able to drink enough milk per feed, he was free to go home with us. Rudi, our first­born, was ec­static to fi­nally meet his brother.

The first five months were rocky; Hano had re­flux and couldn’t sleep on his back in his cot, so he slept on his tummy on my chest. Then, on re­turn­ing to work af­ter ma­ter­nity leave, I was re­trenched. I man­aged to start up my own PR and so­cial me­dia mar­ket­ing agency and was lucky enough to find full-time em­ploy­ment a few months later.

Hano is now a very ac­tive and bub­bly 11-month-old boy. He has just cut his first tooth and started crawl­ing. He loves hav­ing sto­ries read to him, play­ing with the dogs and bath time. We are so blessed to have him in our lives and even though the preg­nancy and birth were stress­ful, I wouldn’t change any­thing. Hano means ‘God is gra­cious’ and Liam means ‘war­rior’. We chose his names at the start of my preg­nancy, not know­ing how suit­able they would be.

‘ I had a full emer­gency plan and was able to quickly set it in mo­tion’

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