My Preemie Journey – Janelle Chinasamy
After knowing my husband for 12 years we decided to tie the knot in 2017.

After a few months of being married we decided that the time is right to start planning for our little tribe.

On the 20th Of April I went to a local GP situated in Eshowe to discuss my concerns:
1. I’ve skipped a menstrual cycle which has happened before and 2. I began spotting which was fairly new to me. So we did a pregnancy test and the doctors assistant had asked me if I was planning to have a baby and I happily replied yes, she then told me not to look at the test because I may feel disappointed. The only thought that ran through my head was if I’m not pregnant then something is definitely wrong with me. After a few seconds I entered the doctors consulting room, he asked me questions about how would I teach reading in my classroom as a grade 1 teacher, I was so anxious and thought he had forgotten about the results; so I reminded him about the test. He said “Well Mrs Moodley In order for you to teach reading you would have to be a fluent reader yourself so go on and read your results.”

I could not believe my eyes at first, I looked at the results for the second time, by then my eyes were already filled with tears. I was beyond excited!
Whilst driving home I immediately thanked the Almighty for the life I carry within me, and yes The tears were rolling down my cheeks. As soon as I reached home I called my parents to share the exciting news, I tried waiting for my husband to get home so that I could share the news with him too but the excitement got the better of me, I sent him a picture of the pregnancy test via WhatsApp and He was Most excited.

I continuously prayed for a healthy pregnancy, by this time I haven’t told many people but News obviously spread like wildfire and many of family and friends already began sending well wishes to us. I’m not sure but Normally people wait until they are in their second trimester to share their pregnancy however with us everyone knew when I was only 6 weeks pregnant. I’m the youngest in my family and everyone could not control their emotions after hearing I’m going to be a mom so they already began jotting down gender reveal/baby shower ideas.

I started Pre-natal visits with my husband to the most awesome Gynaecologist based in Westville Hospital: Dr Nikhil Singh who also happens to be my husbands dads family friend. Our visits were always extremely informative and we found out that the EDD will be on the 18 December 2018. By this time I was on Pre-natal vitamins.

In June I was admitted: tests picked up preeclampsia (usually begins after 20 weeks of pregnancy however I was much earlier than 20 weeks). Stayed in Hospital for 2 days the I was right as rain.. my visits went on as normal, the baby was developing just the way he/she was supposed to and we couldn’t be more thankful. Weeks went by and we were advised by our Gynaecologist that we should make a booking for my Delivery so in August we did so, the hospital also gave us a free 4D scan for the 4th October on My hubby’s birthday.

During these few months, under no circumstances did the Gynaecologist or any tests show any default or concerns.

Baby shower+gender reveal plans were being finalized; the gender reveal was set for the 22 September

On the 17 September I’ve noticed fluid leaking however I assumed it was urine due to my baby being on my bladder seeing that he/she moved so much in my tummy. On the 18th I spoke to my mum and other females at school as the fluid was soaking up the pad.. my mum instructed me to go to the local government hospital in which I contacted one of the learners parents who is a gynaecologist at this hospital. Upon examination he said I have an infection and needed to take Augmentin (an antibiotic) but still not inform me of any issues. My husband was at the hospital in a flash, drove me home and then rushed off to get the prescribed antibiotic.

At this stage we weren’t even that concerned because we felt that if there was something wrong, we would have been told. I called Dr Singh and he had instructed me to see him first thing in the morning….. I said I will see.
The dripping continued until 3am on the 19th, while messaging School Management that I am unwell and Won’t be at school as I wanted to take a day to rest. I handled fundraising at my school and on that Fri 21 Sept was a big fundraising drive which I was worried about so I chose not to go and see my gynae at Westville Hospital. I felt a huge gush of fluid run down my legs!!!!

Immediately I ran into the shower, my husband grabbed my clothing together with the hangers and placed them in the suitcase… at half 3am we were on route to Durban, I called my parents to inform them, members of staff were calling me to find out how I am after seeing my text, I could not control my emotions because at that moment I knew something was wrong, my greatest fear was Losing my baby!

Got to the hospital, checked in at Labour Ward with the most friendliest Nurse, Dawn. My hubby had to rush back to Work but my sister and parents remained behind to make sure I was okay.

My sister stayed with me throughout my examination as they only could allow one person to be with me. My parents went off to work and My Gynaecologist arrived, before He could Say anything, I just burst into tears again. He managed to calm me down by ensuring me that we are okay and there is nothing to stress about: I heard my baby’s heartbeat so I pulled myself together.

He diagnosed me with PROM – PREMATURE RUPTURE OF MEMBRANES after examining the sopping sanitary pad. They quickly had given me antibiotics via a drip as well as a solution to stop me from going into labour which made me feel extremely hot from the inside out as well as very nauseous. At 7am my husband returned from a 2 hour drive and Dr Singh told us to see him at Midday so when Midday came, I was wheeled to his rooms, he took me through this process:
“You will receive 2 doses of steroids to boost your babies lungs but you have a healthy baby so everything is in order.

Janelle, you will deliver your baby on Friday 21 September via Emergency C Section.

Your baby will remain in the neonatal intensive care unit for the required period of time.

Remember you are a strong woman and you will be fine, there is no need to stress, you got this.”

(Still not knowing the gender of the baby as the gender reveal party was set for the 22nd September)

Dr said to me: “You are fortunate to have a girl as girls develop much faster in the NICU, and Man did I pray For a girl. But all I wanted was for my Little One to be Perfectly fine. Baby is 27 weeks and estimated weight is 980g”
I continued to cry just thinking about GRAMS!

I returned to my room in the maternity ward and I was beside myself, there were calls and messages that flooded my cellphone in which I replied to half heartedly.

Visitors were in and out of my room, as soon as visiting hours were over, the tears made its entrance. The staff was extremely accommodating and supportive, they assured me that I am in good hands and I did feel that way. I Had a host of people praying for us and I was more than Grateful.

On the 20th We visited the NICU to see what it’s all about, I was blown away by the machinery and at how many premature babies there were, and at that instant; I felt a sudden warmth, I felt that feeling of being normal and as if nothing was only wrong with me.

After everyone left, fear stepped in, I began to sob thinking What is going to happen during my birthing process etc.

The morning came, I was booked to deliver at 8am so the nurses prepped me up and I was good to go. Families were seated near theatre in a prayerful attitude.

Into theatre, epidural was given to me. At 9:10 my baby girl was born weighing 1070g! I cried the entire time, but when I heard her cry I just smiled and said Thank you to the Almighty. They had to speed up the process as she needed to be warm, so I could not have skin to skin contact with her neither could My hubby have that experience of cutting the umbilical cord, it was just a peak and off she went to the NICU.

Whilst in recovery, I managed to smile and speak to everyone around me, they told me how proud they are of me and wished me well with my baby, they gave me so much of hope and encouragement.

We decided to name her Ezraela (God is my help).

I remember being given Morphine and managed to sleep for a bit, I remember my husband prompting me to sign a form: he immediately registered her onto medical Aid. I was on my phone sooner that I expected, replying to messages! The love we received was amazing. The gifts and flowers was a bonus.

That night the NICU nurse paid me a visit to inform me that she is taking care of my baby and my baby is doing so well: not on a ventilator, did not need any form of oxygen and she will be on donor breastmilk if I cannot express my own (My milk began producing from 4 months of pregnancy).

The next morning I struggled to put my feet on the ground, I was in so much of pain, I felt as if I was going to walk for the first time. After having a shower, well groomed, I remember putting on some lipstick and Then my husband helped me as I walked to the NICU and there across the room in an incubator was my beautiful baby. Makes me so emotional right now. The tiniest I have seen but her movements were so breathtaking.

I had to start driving to hospital just 1 week after Delivery, and I had to travel back and forth to Hospital everyday.

As days passed her weight began to fluctuate which is normal amongst premature babies. Her paediatrician was just as awesome: Dr K Pillay. He prescribed vitamins and always kept us in the loop. I began expressing milk as I was also given a tablet to increase my flow (later on I found out It was also an Anti depressant). My baby began to grow quickly without any concerns, I had tried kangaroo care with her and often assisted with nappy changes. She was fed through a nasal tube still on exclusive breastmilk. She then graduated to a crib…….
At 33 weeks, her eye test was done, among premature babies their eyes always don’t fully develop therefore a routine check had to be done.

ROP is known as a disease that can lead to blindness, the Dr had informed me that Ezraela has stage 2 ROP (stage 2 often don’t need any treatment and will have normal vision.)

I crumbled again, but I assured myself that my baby has come a long way so she will overcome this. After staying for 50 days in hospital and being so inclined with prayer, Ezraela had 100% vision.

Ezraela was Discharged from Hospital weighing 1.7kg and Visitors were only allowed to visit her a month later.

Everything that was meant to break us, we conquered and I handled it like a normal woman would have.

Today Ezraela is 10 months old, a healthy, bubbly baby and I have summed up that Always we don’t understand how Gods plan will unfold in our lives but we have to trust His Will.

Every-time I need a Miracle, I look into my daughters eyes And realise I have created one!