“There is nothing we can do”: The Story of Baby Saige
Jemma was just 24 weeks & 2 days pregnant when she started cramping and feeling nauseous. She felt a leakage of fluids whilst in the shower and noticed a mucous discharge on her towel when she dried off. She knew something wasn’t right and was concerned, but had peace of mind knowing that she already had an appointment with her midwives that morning. At the appointment, the doctor performed an internal swab to check for the presence of amniotic fluid. This test was meant to give a result within 5 minutes, but it appeared it hadn’t worked. After 20 minutes, the test eventually came back negative and the doctors felt confident to let Jemma go home with a diagnosis of possible Braxton Hicks. A friend of Jemma’s came over to be with her and was concerned when the pain worsened. Jemma knew “it didn’t feel right”, but kept blowing it off – she had already been given the all clear. Jemma’s friend convinced her to go and get her Mum, who then decided to take her back to the hospital. Jemma went to get some things and threw up on herself, and not long after, she went to the toilet but was unable to get back up. The pain was unbearable.
When Jemma arrived at emergency, she was told that the ‘cut off’ for human viability was 25 weeks’ gestation and they wouldn’t resuscitate before this. They sent her to the maternity suite where she had been earlier that morning, and when they asked her what was wrong, Jemma replied honestly with “I don’t know”. She was laid down on a bed and asked the usual questions. A midwife pressed on her tummy and once again ruled out labour. Instead, the midwife started to throw around words such as constipation and appendicitis. After Jemma stated that “it feels like I need to do a massive poo”, it was decided that she should go and sit on the toilet. The midwife took a blood test and Jemma remembers saying “whatever is happening to me is going to happen soon.” At this point in time, sitting on the toilet was the only place Jemma felt comfortable enough to even function. Approximately 10 minutes later, Jemma felt a gush of moisture and looked down to see blood. After worryingly calling her Mum into the ensuite, Jemma reached down to feel where the blood was coming from, only to feel her baby crowning. “2 pushes and she was out”. At 8.45pm, Jemma delivered and caught her baby, Saige, and held her safely in her hands.
Jemma’s Mum pressed the emergency bell and the midwife came in and said there is nothing they could do. Jemma remembers hearing Saige gurgling and seeing her moving, and was surprised when her Mum left the room. Jemma sat with her tiny, unfinished baby girl in her arms, in complete shock. Meanwhile, her Mum had found a doctor and told them to do something due to the baby’s movements, and seconds later they returned. The doctor listened for a heartbeat and after hearing one, he cut the umbilical cord and immediately took Saige from Jemma’s arms. Unfortunately, Jemma hadn’t passed her placenta during the delivery, and her efforts to push it out were unsuccessful. She was given an epidural and taken to surgery to remove it. Jemma laid awake on the theatre bed completely unaware whether her baby had survived.
Meanwhile, the doctors were working tirelessly to save Saige. They spent 3.5 hours resuscitating her, and when Jemma returned from surgery, they were able to tell her that Saige was “ok”. They arranged for Saige to be transferred to a bigger hospital with a NICU and when they finally left at 3am, they told Jemma “if anything happens in the air they will be straight back”. Jemma got to see Saige for 5 minutes before she left, and all she did was cry. Seeing her baby being wheeled away from her was the most agonising thing. “I should have been going with her”. For the next few hours, Jemma just had to sit and wait. She prayed that Saige would make it and tried not to focus on the high possibility of something going wrong. Jemma had no idea what was happening until she got the call at 730am that they had arrived at Women’s Mercy Hospital and Saige was as stable as possible. And from this moment, Jemma somehow knew that Saige was going to be okay.
After just 10 days in hospital, Saige needed life threatening surgery on her bowels. The operation was successful and Jemma remembers the surgeon telling her afterwards that he wouldn't have even given her a 20% chance of coming back out of it. “108 days, two bowel surgeries, one eye surgery, multiple life threatening infections later, and being told 3 times Saige shouldn't be alive, all the heartache was worth it.” Jemma said. “My girl is now almost 19 weeks old (3 weeks corrected) and continues to amaze the doctors and nurses at all of our follow ups. Saige is bright, strong and a massive reminder to me that we have incredible inner strength. Going through photos still makes my heart clench, but I know now that after this, together we can do anything.”
Thankyou Jemma for sharing your story with me. I remember you saying countless times throughout this journey that Saige was the strongest and most incredible human you'd ever met...I think you're a close second.
These are the thoughts and opinions of Jemma and do not in any way represent Miracle Mumma or it's affiliates.
If you have a story to share and would like to be featured, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org. Together we can raise awareness of premature birth and offer hope to others who are going or will go through the same. You are never alone <3