Student Sundays – A Mothers Tale For Healing Hearts Blogger Te Anna
We welcome Te Anna to share with us her experience on her journey to becoming a midwife and how personal experience of having her daughter Hafsa diagnosed with Hydrocephalus. Thank you so much Te Anna for sharing such a sad and personal experience. I wish you all the best on your journey to becoming a Midwife!!
Hi, My names Te-Anna and I’m from London, and I’ve recently started my academic journey towards midwifery. My journey towards midwifery has been very complex and at times very painful journey that has guided me towards what I believe I was always destined for. It all started in 2012 when I became pregnant with my first daughter Hafsa. My daughter was diagnosed with Hydrocephalus during my 20+ week antenatal scan.
What is Hydrocephalus?
Hydrocephalus in literal terms means “water on brain”. It is a neurological condition where there is an excessive amount of fluid that accumulates in the brain thus causing pressure on the growing foetuses brain. This problem can affect babies in different ways depending on what part of the brain is affected. Our brain naturally has fluid surrounding it to protect it so when someone has Hydrocephalus the fluid is unable to automatically be absorbed into the body as normal due to a blockage, so it usually has to be absorbed into the body manually with a shunt. This all depends on how severe the hydrocephalus is.
Once I got to 34 weeks pregnant with my daughter Hafsa the unthinkable happened, I went in for a routine appointment with my midwife. The midwife was unable to find my babies heartbeat. Before I knew it, I was being told that my daughter had passed away inside me. Like many women would be, I was caught completely off guard as most people feel safe after the first trimester, but here we were and the worst had happened. I gave birth to an innocent, sleeping baby on Thursday 5th January 2012. She was heartbreakingly beautiful, but I eventually got through it. People tend to be under the assumption that “getting through it” means healing completely. Getting through it doesn’t mean you forget. You will never forget. The Grief just moves from the front of your brain to the back of your brain.
Life resumed as normal and then a wonderful moment happened in 2014. I became pregnant with my second daughter Maryam. During this pregnancy, I had a team supporting me because I had already suffered a loss of pregnancy previously and I had to be kept an eye on because there was a chance that Maryam could also have Hydrocephalus. She did. This was diagnosed, similar to Hafsa, at my 20 week antenatal scan. I was absolutely devastated. Not because my daughter had an illness. That I could handle, it was the fear of her dying in me too. My pregnancy progressed with continuous monitoring and eventually, I gave birth at 38 weeks+ via C section due to my daughters head being quite large from the engorged head caused by the hydrocephalus on Tuesday 13th January 2015 . I immediately heard her cry, I cried with joy as I was reassured my baby was fine. We were reunited and wheeled off to recovery together.
My daughter Maryam spent a week in special care for monitoring and eventually went on to have her shunt inserted the following week and that was that. Aside from this, my daughter had a pretty normal life with the exception of constant appointments at GOSH (Great Ormond Street Hospital); with neurosurgeons, neurologist, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and paediatric appointments. My daughter grew nicely, perfectly, into a toddler.
Then once again, the unthinkable happened again on Tuesday 10th May 2016. At 15 months my beautiful daughter suddenly passed away in her sleep which was later found to be due to cysts that had developed on her brain. This was even more devastating for my family and I. We were left shattered.
I had been looking into getting into midwifery beforehand because my desire to help mothers got stronger after I had Maryam, then when she later passed away, I knew this was something I not only wanted to pursue, it was something I had to pursue! So as hard as it was, I got myself on to an “Access to Midwifery” course and I’m currently studying now. I’m hoping to go to university next year so that I may get to help, support and empower all mothers whether they’re in a high or low risk pregnancy and eventually through labour and birth.
I’ve learnt so very much on this journey which taught me how amazing our NHS is and inspired me to want to be a part of it and contribute to this amazing service that is provided for patients. This journey also encouraged me want to help other parents who’ve suffered child loss which is what inspired my Facebook page ‘A Mother’s Tale and my blog page that is a support system for other bereaved parents.