#RealLifeMoms (June)

#RealLifeMoms (June)

Hi Mamas!
Every month we would like to feature our #RealLifeMom. Whether you have been through a pregnancy or birthing ordeal, or have an interesting story to share, or even if you are just experiencing the normal motions of Motherhood, we want to hear from you!
Email: hello@yaybaby.co.za and put #RealLifeMom in the subject line, and we will get back to you.
Everyone benefits from sharing their stories and hearing someone else's.

 

This month we are featuring a Mama who we think is just a wonderful human being with an incredible PREEMIE story to tell: 
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Nicolle Grosskopf (of @littlelittleprem)

Nicolle is a 23 year old, Stay at Home Mama and owner of the Small Local Business, Little Little Prem.
The cutest little guy in the photo above is Wade, now 2 Years Old and a NICU warrior.
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Tell us a little about yourself: "I am a plain Jane stay at home mommy to my 34 weeker preemie Wade Grosskopf and wife to my best friend Wayne Grosskopf. I am currently studying to get my BEd Foundation phase degree, and love making handmade items for NICU babies. I was born and raised in Centurion, Pretoria and currently reside in Pretoria East."

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 We got to chat to Nicolle about life as a Real Life Mom, and asked her a few questions.

You contracted Meningitis at 23 weeks pregnant, and your journey from there can only be described as unbelievably emotional.

Would you mind sharing your story with us, and how it impacted you becoming a Real Life Mom?

"I had a very chilled pregnancy in the beginning and absolutely loved every second of it. BUT at 23 weeks pregnant I started feeling sick and had a super bad migraine, my Gynaecologist told me to go to the maternity unit so she can have a look, I got an injection for a pregnancy migraine and went home. During that night I developed a very high fever and my migraine just got worse. Early the next morning my migraine and fever got so bad that I couldn’t stand the sight of the smallest light. My husband rushed me to the hospital and from there on I don’t really remember much, I was woken up for 3 lumber punctures and an MRI, 4 days later I woke up to my husband telling me that I have Meningitis and encephalitis. The treatment they had to give me to save my life was not ‘’pregnancy friendly’’ and at 24 + 5 weeks we found that our little baby had lost 200g and that had little to no amniotic fluid. We were told that there wasn’t much they could do for baby at that moment and if they had to take him out at 25 weeks that his survival rate won’t be very high. So we agreed that bed rest would be best to see how far we could push the pregnancy. Because of the Meningitis doctors had to do test to see if our baby also had the Meningitis, so we did 2 amniocentesis and went to see a fetal specialist. We were told that our baby has serious abnormalities and that he would die when he is born and that it would be best to terminate the pregnancy (I was already 32 weeks pregnant by then).  Our Gynaecologist did not agree with the termination and prepared me for what was to come, a paediatrician came to talk to us and told us that he would keep our baby comfortable until he died.  I had check ups twice a week and each time it was bad news, eventually at my 34 week check up I had already received 2 courses of steroids and it was time for our baby to be born.
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It all happened so fast, on the 18th of May 2020 8:21 my baby boy was born at 34 + 5 weeks and weighed 1,8kg, it was scary knowing my baby was being born early, and that knowing he might not survive because of what the doctors said. He was born and he didn’t cry I kept on asking my husband if he was ok and what does he look like. The doctor quickly showed my baby to me over the screen and then he was swoooshed away by the paediatrician, they started to incubate him, and I had to look away, I couldn’t stand the sight of it. My husband went with our baby to the NICU, and I just so badly wanted to see my baby boy. I was luckily pumped full of drugs after that and fell asleep most of the day after the birth. I only got to see my baby the next morning, and then our NICU journey began."
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Do you have any advice for pregnant moms?

ENJOY every second of being pregnant, take pictures every day and flaunt your beautiful pregnant body, you are growing a little human be proud of your body! Trust your gut and NEVER wish for your pregnancy to end early! Spoil and pamper yourself, sleep and rest! And DON’T compare yourself to other pregnant mommies, you are beautiful!

 

Tell us a little about having a newborn:

We were ecstatic to have our baby home after our NICU journey. Our baby Wade came home after being in the NICU for 4 weeks and he weighed a full 2kg when he got home, my husband and I kept on staring at him and feeling if he was breathing, because in the NICU you have machines telling you if he is breathing and if everything is ok. He also had his first bath the night he came home. I was just over the moon, because after all we’ve been through, we finally had our baby home!

    Do you have a funny story to share about having a Newborn?

    I wasn’t sure how to bath Wade for the first time, because the hospital never bathed him while he was in the NICU and also didn’t show me how when I went home. So as a new mommy I wanted my husband to think that I am this super mom that know exactly how to do everything. I sneaked a quick google search on how to bath a preemie for the first time and walked into the room acting like I GOT THIS. I think I followed the google steps pretty well 😉

    Do you have any advice for new moms?

    The saying goes “you can’t pour from an empty cup’’ TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF!

    Take a shower,

    Have a yummy meal,

    Drink enough fluids,

    Ask for help!

    Rest, rest, rest as much as you can!

    Resting and staying hydrated helps to have a good milk supply for your baby!

    What has been the most difficult thing you have had to overcome, in the journey of becoming a mom/being a mom?

    The most difficult thing for me was mom guilt and jealousy towards mothers with full term babies, firstly leaving the hospital every night without my baby was one of the hardest things to do. I cried every night because I felt so guilty for leaving him their all alone and I also felt so angry when I saw a happy family leaving the hospital with a new born, I longed for a normal birth and spending the first hour after birth doing skin to skin, I truly mourn a full term pregnancy and natural birth till this day. I had a few pregnant friends at that time and I actually couldn’t look at their belly pics or their new born pics because I actually felt jealous for not having the full-term belly and the natural birth and the new born cuddling pics.

    What was the best advice that YOU received?

    Take it easy, you just had a baby, you can clean the house later! Let your baby sleep on your chest there is no such thing as spoiling a baby.

    What was the most useful product/item that you purchased or were gifted? 

    Electric Breast pump, I used my breast pump since day 1 because baby was in the NICU. This was the only way I could feed my baby, I used it every 3 hours until my baby turned 4 months and finally latched onto my breast.

    5 MUST HAVE pregnancy/baby items/products:

      3 things that MUST go in your hospital bag:

      • MILK Lactation Bars

      • Silicone Pump to catch your colostrum
      • Small face cloths for baby. (wet wipes are cold on a new born babies bum, rather use thin small face cloths and heat the cloth up in warm water before cleaning babies bum.)

           3 things that MUST go on your baby shower registry:

              1 thing you feel that you absolutely DID NOT need:

              • Bottle warmer

              Name 1 thing you wish you had bought or received. And why?

              • A comfortable feeding chair, I didn’t have one so had to sit on an uncomfortable dining table chair when pumping or breastfeeding. I spent every 2-3 hours feeding and pumping and I wished I had a comfortable feeding chair to spend most of my day in.

               

              Do you have a parting thought for our other Real Life Mamas:

              "To NICU moms – You CAN do the impossible, because you’ve been through the unimaginable

              The NICU journey is a step process, many forward and many backwards, but witnessing the determination of a premature baby, fight for life with each breath they take is life changing for parents and those around them!

               you are strong and you will get through this and you will walk out of those NICU doors even stronger! And remember Miracles do exist!"

               

              Quick Fire Challenge

              (The below aims to normalize motherhood. We get so worked up over “doing the right thing” when in actual fact there is no right thing. You are doing a great job if your baby is fed, clean, dry and happy. You got this Mama!)
              • Breast or Bottle or Both
              Both
              • Cloth Nappies or Disposables
              Disposables
              • Natural Birth or C-Section
              Emercency C-section
              • Followed a strict schedule or went with the flow
              Feeding was strict 2-3 hours day and night because he was preemie.
                • Co-Sleep or Own Bed (from the beginning) 
                Co- sleep & own bed since 5 months
                • Full term or Premature
                Premature
                • Stay at Home Mom or Back to Work
                Stay at Home Mom
                • Nanny or Playschool/Creche
                None
                • Pureed Food or Baby Led Weaning
                A bit of both

                  Disclaimer: This blog is made available by Yay Baby for general information purposes only. By using this blog you understand that these articles are in no way a substitute for actual medical or professional advice.
                  If you have any questions relating to this article, for Yay Baby or for Nicolle directly, feel free to post in the comments below!
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