A year ago today I was 28 + 6 weeks pregnant and camping out at Royal North Shore hospital waiting for Thea’s imminent arrival. A dodgy placenta meant that Thea wasn’t getting the nutrients she needed to grow and was very small for her gestational age. The consequence of this was that somewhere between 28 to 30 weeks of my pregnancy, when it was seen on my bi daily ultrasounds that the blood flow in the umbilical cord had gone into reverse and was flowing away from Thea, she would be delivered.
It’s amazing writing this now, so matter of factly, because at one point getting to 28 weeks had seemed like an insurmountable feat. Thea’s dad and I first learned about her restricted growth somewhere around 24 weeks. I can remember so vividly the hairs standing up on the back of my neck, the blood rushing to my cheeks, my heart thundering in my chest, as the news was explained to us. Our baby may not survive and there was nothing that we could do about it. All the love and hope and possibility that we felt for our unborn child as prospective parents was fully realised, as we learned that the blood flow in the umbilical cord was so bad that it could reverse at any point, cutting off Thea’s lifeline. We were made aware that it was not a good course of action for our tiny baby, who was estimated to weigh 360g, some three weeks behind in growth, to be delivered, as a baby that young and that small does not have a good chance of survival or at best, survive with out long term damage. We were advised that the best thing to do would be to wait and hope that the blood flow sustained until 28 weeks or a weight of 500g was reached, at which point the outlook would be slightly more positive. But it was up to us. We decided to take a leap of faith and wait.
For 5 weeks I patiently rested on my left side. I drank beetroot juice (thought to promote good blood circulation) for breakfast followed by eggs and bacon. I ate liver, kidneys, meat, butter and cream. Nutrient dense food to help my body and my baby. I had acupuncture. And I googled the hell out of IUGR (in uterine growth restriction) for two weeks whilst at home. Then I was admitted to hospital where I stayed for another three. In hospital, I had breakfast delivered to me in bed every day. I read books cover to cover. Dozed. Meditated. Had visitors. Received flowers. Food parcels. Felt loved. I listened to my baby’s heartbeat for nearly an hour everyday and saw her on a screen every other. She reassuringly kicked me late at night and early in the morning. “Mum, I’m still here. I’m ok”
During my stay in hospital, I asked my mum to make me some flapjacks. A comforting and familiar childhood snack to munch on with my morning tea. And that’s the recipe for this post. Reminiscing about my pregnancy and the birth of my daughter, I was inspired to make a batch of these oaty, wickedly moorish biscuits. The act of baking them acknowledges how far Thea has come, how beautiful and alert and simply perfect she is and how wonderful it is to be a family of three. On Saturday we will celebrate her first birthday. But that’s another story.
- 150g brown sugar
- 250g butter
- 1tbs golden syrup
- 350g oats
Simply melt butter, sugar and syrup together in a pot over a low heat. Add the oats and mix well. Transfer the mixture to a lined baking tin and bake for about 40 minutes at 150 degrees. Slice into squares when cool.
Thea three days after being born at her lowest weight of 525g. I love this picture. It's the first time I saw her with her eyes open and the pen speaks volumes about her tenacious personality.