Cindy Visser re­counts her dif­fi­cult sec­ond preg­nancy and says her son’s pos­i­tive at­ti­tude to­wards life is what keeps her go­ing.

Living and Loving - - CONTENTS -

When we de­cided to ex­tend our fam­ily, I was over the moon. I had a per­fect first preg­nancy and gave birth to a healthy baby boy. I was nat­u­rally ex­cited when I found out I was ex­pect­ing again, and elated when I dis­cov­ered I’d be hav­ing an­other boy.

Things didn’t go as smoothly with the sec­ond preg­nancy as I was in and out of hos­pi­tal with in­fec­tions. At 26 weeks, my mem­branes rup­tured and I was ad­mit­ted to hos­pi­tal im­me­di­ately and put on bed rest un­til my due date. The doc­tors tried their best to push the birth to 30 weeks, but our mir­a­cle de­cided oth­er­wise, and I will never for­get that day.

I was ly­ing in bed when I felt a gush. At first, I thought my wa­ters broke be­cause of the leak, but when I went to the bath­room I saw blood. The first thought that came to my mind was that I was los­ing my baby. I went to the head nurse and told her some­thing was wrong. Con­fused and shocked, I was rushed off for an emer­gency C-sec­tion, and a few hours later, I woke up not know­ing if my son was OK. I heard a voice say­ing, “He is beau­ti­ful and do­ing well”. Jacques was born on 16 May

2017, weigh­ing 1.1kg at 27 weeks; the doc­tors were sur­prised by how much he weighed un­der the cir­cum­stances.

The hos­pi­tal staff ex­plained that the first 72 hours of a baby’s life are the most cru­cial and Jacques was taken to the neona­tal in­ten­sive care unit. I also had an in­fec­tion in my womb, so had to stay in hos­pi­tal. I didn’t mind, though, as I was close to my baby. But when I was dis­charged af­ter two weeks, I felt empty when I left without my bun­dle of joy, and my world was filled with un­cer­tainty as I didn’t know if he would pull through. I vis­ited him three times a day and re­ceived great sup­port from Lit­tle Steps, an on­line sup­port group for par­ents of preterm ba­bies. They rec­om­mended the book, Pre­ma­tu­rity: Ad­just­ing Your Dream, which helped me on my jour­ney as a mom to a pre­emie.

Jacques was fi­nally dis­charged in July, just in time for my birth­day.

But our chal­lenges didn’t end there, as he would be ad­mit­ted to hos­pi­tal 23 times for lung prob­lems. He was put on a ven­ti­la­tor a few times and spent his first Christ­mas in ICU for a lung in­fec­tion. Doc­tors weren’t sure if he would make it, but our mir­a­cle baby pulled through once again.

To­day, he’s a year old and a lit­tle busy body. You would never guess he was a pre­ma­ture baby. He smiles ev­ery day − no mat­ter what he’s go­ing through. He’s our hero! LL

‘He smiles ev­ery day – no mat­ter what he’s go­ing through.’

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