Our path towards fulfilling our dream – to become a parent, began by dealing with the problem of getting pregnant. Back in 2007, I decided Dr. Slobodan Lazarevski to be my gynecologist and when the circumstances were such that we had to choose assisted reproduction, I knew that we were in the right place. I felt safe and believed that Dr. Slobodan Lazarevski will find a solution to our problem. We spent a lot of time together, from my first intervention until the first in vitro that occurred in 2010.
We were excited, full of hope and expectations. After two weeks we received a positive result. I thought this was the end of the fight. But, I couldn’t even imagine how far I was from fulfilling my dream. Somewhere around the 20th week of pregnancy, I felt pain and immediately went to the doctor. The news that the doctor gave us were disappointing. They did everything, but after seven days the most difficult moment in my life occurred – we lost the baby. The trauma that changed our lives forever. We went home empty-handed and with an empty soul. The months that followed were hard and we barely managed to mend our broken souls. But, our hope slowly started to restore, as well as the strength to start all over again. Over the next two years two in vitro followed with a positive pregnancy test, but were unsuccessful in the first weeks. Despite all the bad news, all the previously difficult experiences, we decided not to give up and stubbornly moved forward with the thought that you have to succeed sometime!
We did the fourth in vitro in 2013. Again, myself and Dr. Slobodan Lazarevski, hand in hand started a new fight. Two weeks of waiting followed again, this time for the first time I decided not to take it personally. I sent my husband. Somehow I thought that waiting at home would be easier than in the hospital. But I was wrong… The phone rang … Darko: Beta 281! Another positive result.
No matter how many times I experienced it, I always cried heartily.
On the first examination, we heard Katja’s heart beating. Our little hero was already conceived. We felt a small relief, we were one step ahead. The pregnancy progressed, but the fear was present in every cell of my body. I prayed every day to God to watch over this baby. My pregnancy was pathological and although I was completely inactive, I had problems throughout it.
In my 20th week of pregnancy, Dr. Slobodan Lazarevski left me in the hands of Dr. Gordana Petrovska, as a specialist for risky pregnancies. I hardly parted with Dr. Slobodan Lazarevski, but he did what he could. The first meeting with Dr. Gordana Petrovska was very pleasant. After all, my relationship with my doctor was very important. The safety I felt with Dr. Lazarevski, I found with Dr. Petrovska. Around the 22nd week I faced a serious problem, for which there was the possibility to experience my biggest nightmare again. Somehow we reached our next control examination in the 24th week of pregnancy and received positive news. But just when we thought that the crisis passed, the worst happened. It was Friday, 25th week and 5 days of my pregnancy; I was hospitalized in the Clinical Hospital “Acibadem Sistina”. I felt that the end of my pregnancy was coming … and everything was just like the first time, the same trauma, only a week later. I could not believe that once again I am reliving my biggest nightmare. There was no turning back, there was no salvation. The baby had to be born. I was told that although the possibility the baby to survive was very small, it however existed. I felt awful. Everything I did to make my soul whole again, tumbled. They took me to the delivery room, Darko was with me. The psychological pain was much stronger than the physical pain. I didn’t have the strength to get over this one more time. Then, for the first time we met Dr. Simonida Spasevska. She came to ask us how we were and Darko asked questions about the baby. He never lost hope for our hero, who was preparing to come early to this world and from the first moment was determined to win the battle for her life. Deep in my soul I had hope, but I have suppressed it. It was easier this way. It was easier not to hope.
Katja was botn in the 26th week of pregnancy, on February 4 2014. I barely saw her. I just saw a small blue baby. Dr. Simonida Spasevska delivered her as I squeezed Darko’s hands as hard as I could. Suddenly we heard something unexpected. Katja, with her 830 gr. had the strength to take her first breath and cry. I didn’t know what it meant, I didn’t know what to expect, I didn’t know what to ask… so I didn’t ask anything. I woke up from the anesthesia, and nurse put a rubber bracelet on my arm. “Your daughter has the same bracelet, with the same number.” – she said. She is alive…I thought! We wore the bracelets for 100 days … Dr. Simonida Spasevska explained us the situation and what we might expect. She told us that this is a long, difficult and highly uncertain struggle. In the following months I experienced her every word. The next morning we went to see Katja. I felt mixed feelings. We headed to the Neonatal Intensive Care Department. Everything seemed new and strange then. Today, I feel like I am home. They opened the door; we put on masks, scrubs, washed our hands. I couldn’t take a breath and couldn’t see through my tears.
Katja was placed in the first incubator on the right side. I saw a little red baby. Her face was completely covered with the glasses to protect her eyes. She was so tiny. Small thin arms and legs, connected to many wires and tubes. I don’t believe there is a parent that is ready to see her baby in such condition … We waited so long for our little baby. We stayed for a short period of time. I had no words … I didn’t know what to say … But when I saw Katja I realized, we will be here for a long time.
Day after day, the time passed very slowly. We visited Katja every day. As the days passed we loved her more and more. On one hand, we were afraid because we didn’t know what could happen, on the other hand however we were parents who were in love in our little child long before she was born. Each day was the same; at 7 am Darko was calling to ask how she spent the previous night. Every time he called, my heart stopped for a moment. We were calling several times a day since we knew that the situation can change at every moment. I don’t know if those days, months of our lives can be called life. The only thing we did was waiting, waiting for positive information about Katja.
One month passed, Katja was stable, but still far from the end of the long jorney we were on. One morning, as any other, I stood bent over the incubator. Dr. Simonida entered. By then I knew her well to see her face and knew she had bad news. The ducts of Katja’s heart hasn’t closed, the medication she received didn’t help, most probably she’ll need to have a surgery. What else can a mother at that point to do; I started to cry in disbelief. How can my fragile little baby, who is only 855 grams, withstand operation?! I will never forget Dr. Simonida’s words: “There is a solution; as long as there is a solution, you shouldn’t worry.” After we talked a bit, she calmed me down; I don’t know how I would have survived all this experience if it wasn’t for Dr. Simonida. She was and still is my salvation. In the the most difficult moments of this awful experience, I needed her and her words.
The day of the surgery came. Katja’s life, as well as ours, was in the hands of the professor. Dr. Salis Tadzer. “If you are ready let’s begin!” – he said. We weren’t ready, not then, not ever. But there was only one choice; the operation had to be done. Everyone entered the operating room and we stayed at the door. I thought to myself, today won’t be the day I see Katja for the last time, and it wasn’t. The glorious hands of prof. Dr. Salis Tadzher, along with the courage and resilience of my small hero resulted in a successful operation. Dr. Simonida Spasevska along with nurse Milena welcomed us with wide smiles. Katja welcomed us with half-opened eyes. I wanted to hug her over and over again. But the only thing we were allowed to do was to rejoice her through the incubator.
Katja slowly began to grow and to gain weight. The hardest thing after the surgery was for her to learn to breathe on her own. It was a never ending path. Slowly, after many months spent on tubes, Katja was able to breathe on her own. The end of Katja’s stay at “Acibadem Sistina” was approaching. One day after visiting Katya, as always I went to talk to Dr. Simonida, who welcomed me with good news. “Tomorrow come around 12 o’clock. We would like for you to hold Katja” – she said. The moment I have waited for many years, the moment I have patiently waited, especially since Katja was born – to hug my child. The next day was 23 April. We gathered at the Intensive Care Department and we were happy that this moment has finally come. Dr. Simonida and nurse Milena slowly wrapped up Katja, took her out of the incubator and handed her to me. For the first time there wasn’t glass between us, I just hugged her and wondered if I was doing something wrong, terrified of hurting her. It was strange to see her wrapped up in my hands. It was unbelievable. Finally, I was hugging my child. A moment I will never forget. The day when Katja was supposed to come home, finally came. We were endlessly excited and scared. We went home crying, it was difficult to say goodbye to everyone, I knew I would miss them. It was almost a dream. After 100 days spent at the Intensive Care Department at “Acibadem Sistina”, Katja finally came to her real home.
The first moments at home were filled with happiness, joy and fear. We have to be the eyes and hands of all doctors and nurses now. The time passed, we quickly got used to everything. We enjoyed every moment and the fear slowly disappeared. Katja was at home for 4 months.
She has 7 months and weighs 5 kilograms. She is our smiley, cheerful baby who melts our hearts every day. I am a proud mother in love with her child; we are proud parents of our little hero.
Mothers, fathers, all of you who are in a similar situation as ours..
First of all I wish you immense happiness and a happy ending. Keep the faith in your little ones, they really are much stronger than they seem. Have faith in your doctors, because they will do their best to safely send you home. Be strong. There are no words that can express our gratitude to everyone, to the entire team of doctors from “Acibadem Sistina.” Dr. Slobodan Lazarevski, we thank you for all the battles that you’ve experienced with us, we thank all the nurses from the Assisted Reproduction Department, the team of embryologists, for all the years spent at your hospital feeling as we were home. From the bottom of our hearts we thank Dr. Gordana Petrovska for her expertise and care. Dr. Simonida Spasevska, we don’t know how to thank you for all your dedication and parental care for Katja, for your professionalism, for your support, for the strength you gave us throughout this amazing experience. You will forever be part of Katja’s life…
We immensely thank the whole team of neonatologists in “Acibadem Sistina” – Dr. Aleksandar Sajkovski, Dr. Antoni Hristovski, Dr. Dushko Fidanovski, Dr. Stanka Tancheva, Dr. Svetlana Krstevka and Dr. Drashko Dimeski. Special thanks to prof. Dr. Salis Tadzer, for taking care of little Katja’s heart.
This was not possible without the nurses Meri, Milena, Tina, Vesna, Suze and others; we thank you for taking care of Katja every day, for comforting us throughout the difficult times.
All of you, together, are our family- forever.
With love, respect and endless gratitude
Katja, Marina and Darko Todorovski