Every minute felt like eternity, it was 5 days after my premature baby was born that I first saw her
Pregnancy is one of the most beautiful periods in life for every woman. Unfortunately, not every pregnancy is the same. High-risk pregnancy carries many challenges and requires regular check-ups and special attention. Gordana Klincharova had to be hospitalized at 27 weeks of gestation. She stayed in bed for 40 days and instead of celebrating New Year’s Eve 2015 with her family she welcomed New Year at Acibadem Sistina Hospital. Three days after New Year, at 31 weeks of gestation, little Galena decided to be the most beautiful New Year’s gift to Klincharov family, but also to wish her dad happy birthday.
“And when I thought the worst was over, I had to stay at the Intensive Care Unit because of complications. I gave birth to a baby, but I couldn’t see her. When I was finally transferred to the ward, another shock came. The baby was in an incubator, and I had a Caesarean section so I had no chance to go and see her. The nurses at the department comforted me by telling me that Galena was well and that she was very beautiful. We finally met after 5 days. She was so small and gentle, pricked with needles and connected to machines. The room was very hot, with flashing lights and monitors beeping, but warm and gentle faces welcome you on your entering. The first fear when you see a premature baby is that she misses something. You look at her and tell to yourself ‘Oh, it’s OK, she has everything she needs to have’”, Gordana explains.
Instead of going home with a baby, you go home empty-handed
Fortunately, as Gordana explains, the team from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit was her greatest comfort. They were calming and comforting, and restored the young mother’s faith and hope.
“You watch your child, you touch her through the small incubator hole, you want to hug her, but it is impossible. You enter the room every hour in the hope that something has changed and that you will eventually hug that little baby and give her the strength to endure. You go home after a few days, and the baby stays in the hospital. There is nothing more hard than that. Enormous pain and anticipation. You go to see her twice a day and wonder if and when the day will come to hug her and take her home with you. You see her in the incubator and every departure ends with tears rolling down your face. You see those little eyes looking at you sweetly as they want to tell you ‘don’t leave me’. You pump breast milk at home and try to get ready, but your thoughts are with the hospital. At each visit you ask if and how much milk she drank, and when she will be taken out of the incubator. Dr. Stanka Tancheva is such a positive person and if she hadn’t been there, I wouldn’t have been able to go through those days when Galena was in hospital. Dr. Sajkovski was giving us many examples of people who were born prematurely and later became celebrities, painters, musicians… ”- Gordana recalls with tears in her eyes.
After 23 days, I took her in my arms for the first time
The first time Gordana took Galena in her arms was so emotional and tearful. They were overjoyed when they saw their daughter out of the incubator after 23 days.
“I finally held my child in my arms. I did not know how to behave. At times I was afraid of pressing her too hard. Mixed feelings of fear, joy and uncertainty. I wondered what’s next, if everything would be alright. But I soon realized that time is limited, and other parents with the same problem wait to see their little ones. I hugged her and I didn’t want to leave her. Somehow I had no strength anymore to wait for the day when she comes home. They explained to us that she had to stay for a while at the Intensive Care Unit. With the last ounce of strength we waited for that short period of time that felt like eternity to pass. Finally, after 26 days we were told that we can take her home. We were happy, but we were also afraid. How will we feed her when she has no strength to suck, she sucks once or twice and falls asleep. We had to wake her up. I set up the alarm to sound every three hours, because if she didn’t put on weight, she would’ve had to go back to the hospital. When we bathed her, I was afraid to hold her, afraid that I might hurt her. She was so small and powerless”, says Gordana.
The difficult road premature babies walk along
Premature babies are no different than term babies. They are just like the others, but the road they start walking along ever since day one is more difficult both for them and for their parents.
“We had to take her to eye examinations, first after birth, then again after a few months, hearing examinations, head scans. You go to each examination with an attitude and every time pray to God that everything is OK. For a whole year we were visiting the center for premature babies, with constant monitoring of weight, development, motor skills. Fortunately, everything is easier after the first year. The baby becomes a little girl, the fear of all the examinations and check-ups disappears and you start living somewhat more normal life. You kept your child at home for the first few months, in a sterile environment, with disinfectants, masks, and now you mix her with people not fearing that she is weak and that something may happen to her”, Gordana shares.
A few years later, the little baby weighing 1,790 grams is now a beautiful and smart girl that is soon to turn 5. She has been attending kindergarten since her first year, and a year ago, she started attending ballet classes and has already won awards.
“I sincerely thank Dr. Slobodan Drakulevski, who was there for me even when he was not at work. He was available on the phone at all times, just as the entire gynecology team. I would like to thank Dr. Jordancho Ivanov, who stood by me after giving birth, and especially nurse Aneta, who is for sure hesitating whether to pick up the phone when I am ringing, asking herself what kind problem of problem there is now J. I would also like to thank Dr. Stanka Tancheva and Dr. Aleksandar Sajkovski and the whole team of the Pediatrics and Neonatology Department. All of you helped us get through the most difficult road in our lives”, Gordana says in an inspiring letter.