Happy Monday! Today, we have an important person to meet, and I’m so glad you’ve joined us again for another Micro Preemie Monday. If you missed last week, you can read about identical twins, Nicolas and Lucas HERE. You can also read my post for World Prematurity Day HERE. We still have a week of November left, so I will be trying to squeeze in more about Premature Birth Awareness…even if it’s just one fact every day.
Micro Preemie Taliyah
We will meet Taliyah. Her mom, Terry, was kind enough to share her story about her premature birth experience. Taliyah was actually born at the same gestation as my twins. So, let’s get right to it and meet Taliyah.
1. Please tell us about your baby.
My daughter Taliyah Marie was born October 24th 2008 at 25 weeks 5 days and weighed 1 lb 14 oz (was 1 lb 5 oz at her smallest) and 13 inches long. She was born at the wrong hospital as it was not equipped to take care of babies under 32 weeks gestation so a team had to come for her birth, stabilize her and move her to the proper hospital.
2. How long was your NICU stay? What was the hardest part?
Taliyah stayed in the NICU for 99 days and came home 2 weeks before her due date. Unfortunately she caught RSV not long after coming home and was re-hospitalized for another 10 days. The hardest part about her stay at the NICU was probably the unknown and the seclusion. We had no idea what we were facing (there wasn’t the support there is now with FB when she was born 7 yrs ago) we didn’t have access to all the success stories or other parents to reach out to ask questions ect. That and spending her first Christmas in the hospital, although the NICU team went above and beyond as usual.
3. Do you know what caused your premature birth?
At the time we had no idea why she came so early. I went into the hospital with lower back pain and mild cramping at 2 am and ended up in full-blown labour and delivered by emergency c-section at 10 am. My second pregnancy, at my 19 week scan, they found that my cervix had shortened so they put me on bed rest and at my next scan 2 weeks later it was down to 0.4 cm! I had a rescue cerclage* placed at 22 weeks and put on strict bed rest for the rest of my pregnancy. I carried my son until 38 weeks. At this point it looked pretty likely that I have an incompetent cervix. My third pregnancy I had a preventive cerclage placed at 14 weeks and carried my 2nd son to 38 weeks 3 days with no bed rest so I am confident in the diagnosis of an incompetent cervix*.
4. How are you and your baby doing now?
Taliyah is now a happy and healthy 7-year-old. She just had her birthday Oct 24th. She still has a small heart murmur (PDA) that didn’t close so she is followed by a cardiologist we see every 2 yrs. She also has struggled with a severe speech delay her entire life and done countless amounts of speech therapy, but I am proud to say thanks to her hard work and determination, as of last year, she can finally communicate for the most part with everyone she meets. She still has a ways to go but this has made her day-to-day life much easier. Taliyah had laser eye surgery done while in the NICU for ROP and so far her vision is perfect. Her father and I are doing well. It was a very hard time on our family, but I think we came out stronger because of it. I suffered mildly with post partum depression when she was in the NICU and also PSTD. I am also left with severe anxiety although I find it’s getting somewhat better as the time goes by. We feel truly blessed that Taliyah is here, happy and healthy.
5. What advice would you give to a new preemie parent?
Advice to a new preemie parent: take it one day at a time, celebrate every milestone big and small. Take care of yourself because your baby needs you to be strong. You are stronger than you think. Your people won’t understand what you’re going through but that’s okay, reach out to people who have been there or who have a baby in the NICU too. Ask questions, you have a right to know everything. Buy a parking pass. Don’t beat yourself up, you are only human, just do the best you can.
*Cerclage and Incompetent Cervix
Cervical cerclage, also known as a cervical stitch, is a treatment for cervical incompetence or insufficiency, when the cervix starts to shorten and open too early during a pregnancy causing either a late miscarriage or preterm birth.
I really think that is great advice from Terry. I am so happy to see Taliyah is doing well, as it gives me hope for my boys. I hope it has brought you hope too.
Please feel free to leave any comments or questions for Terry below.