Butterflies filled my stomach as I followed my husband, Randall, into our bedroom.
I’d just taken a home pregnancy test, and after a year of trying for a baby without success, I couldn’t bear to see another negative result.
‘You check it,’ I said, anxiously.
Randall was already a dad to two kids from a previous relationship, Jake, then 12, and Zoe, nine, and after tying the knot in April 2018, we’d longed to have a baby together.
But with every month that passed with no luck, I began feeling defeated.
A fertility specialist had revealed that I wasn’t ovulating due to stress, so I was placed on medication to help induce the process.
Sadly, the first two rounds were unsuccessful.
I wonder if I’ll ever become a mum, I thought, sadly.
Now, though, as I watched Randall’s face break into a huge smile, I realised my dreams were coming true.
‘You’re pregnant,’ he beamed and I burst into tears of joy.
Over the next few weeks, I suffered with extreme nausea and struggled to find foods that wouldn’t make me feel sick.
But hearing our baby’s heartbeat during my first ultrasound at eight weeks, made it all worthwhile.
Though it was too early to tell the gender, I knew deep down it was a little girl.
Then, during our next scan at 20 weeks, it was confirmed.
Deciding on the name Jasmim before we’d even fallen pregnant, I could already picture myself cradling my princess.
But, just seconds later, the technician said something that raised alarm bells.
‘I don’t want to worry you, but she’s measuring quite small,’ he said.
So he booked me in for another scan in two weeks’ time to check on her.
Then, three days before my appointment, I got severe stomach cramps and noticed my blood pressure was high after using the machine that I had at home. So I rushed myself to hospital.
Following another scan, doctors revealed Jasmim still wasn’t growing at the rate she should be.
I was told it could be caused by a lack of nutrients, an infection or a chromosomal abnormality.
After several tests, they discovered my amniotic fluid was low, which was restricting our girl’s growth.
Though early delivery was often recommended to women with my condition, it was only safe to do so in the late stages of pregnancy.
At just 22 weeks, there was almost no chance our girl would survive.
‘If she does, it’s likely she’ll have developmental problems,’ one doctor admitted, suggesting we consider termination.
But as I felt our little girl moving inside of me, I knew I had to keep fighting.
Back home, I tried to hold myself together. Still, I began to wonder whether I’d made the right decision.
Will I be able to cope with a sick baby? I panicked.
‘We’re in this together, no matter what happens,’ Randall vowed.
Then, a week later, I was rushed back to hospital when my blood pressure shot back up.
There, another scan revealed Jasmine had grown since my last appointment.
So, my midwife organised to transfer me to Monash Hospital, where they were better equipped to look after a premature baby.
I knew she was a fighter, I thought, hopeful.
But at only 24 weeks, I needed her to hold on a little longer so I was kept in hospital where we could both be closely monitored.
Daily ultrasounds showed our girl defying the doctors with each gram she gained.
Then, two weeks later, my blood pressure skyrocketed once more.
‘I know your baby is okay, but now your life is in danger,’ the head obstetrician warned. ‘Call your husband. We’re delivering your girl today,’ she added, explaining I’d need to be induced as soon as possible.
At just 26 weeks and one day, my bub was 14 weeks early.
Shocked, the next hour rushed by in a blur as I waited for Randall to arrive from work.
Finally, it was time to deliver our daughter via emergency caesarean.
‘If she doesn’t cry, it’s completely normal as she’s so small,’ the midwife said.
But when Jasmim came out, she let out a faint cry like a little kitten.
Still, nothing could have prepared me for the moment I first laid eyes on my tiny girl.
At just 376 grams she weighed less than a jar of Vegemite, and was the smallest baby to have survived at the hospital.
Intubated right away, Jasmim was rushed to the NICU while I was stitched up. Going to see her the next day, I was shocked at how many wires snaked all over her.
Her skin was see-through and her teeny body was the length of Randall’s hand.
Two days after she was born, we shared our first cuddle.
‘You’re our little miracle,’ I whispered to her.
We knew our girl had a long road ahead of her.
Battling several infections and diagnosed with chronic lung disease and pulmonary hypertension, we called her our little warrior as she clung on.
Then, in September last year, five long months after entering the world, Jasmim was allowed to go home, weighing almost four kilos.
Now, aged nine months, our girl – nicknamed Mimi – is a bundle of joy. She still relies on a nasogastric tube to ensure she’s getting enough nutrients, but she is getting stronger every day.
Every morning I get to see her precious face, I’m reminded how lucky we are.
Being her mum is the greatest gift.