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The Story of Fragile yet Strong Lilia
November 17 is the International Day of Premature Children celebrated annually worldwide to raise awareness about premature births and draw attention to the problems of premature infants and their families. Professional medical assistance and care of parents and all members of the family are important for survival of prematurely born children.
Today we publish the story of Kamila Fatikhova and her daughter Lilia. Kamila wanted to share her experience, so that parents and other care givers of such children would not lose hope and would struggle for the survival and further happiness of their babies.
Lilia was born a special child, in the 31st week of pregnancy, with a birth weight of 930 grams and a height of 39 cm. It so happened that she was born much before the due date.
Almost throughout my pregnancy, my condition was excellent. Nothing bothered me, and the child developed well according to the doctors. However, closer to seven months of pregnancy, my legs began to swell. We did not worry much about that, because I would walk as usual and it did not cause me any discomfort. One day, I started feeling unwell and pre-eclampsia began, a serious condition that threatens the life of both the child and the mother.
Even at the perinatal center with good health specialists, I didn’t know whether I would give birth to my daughter prematurely or not. As the doctors said, I would not be able to give birth without a medical intervention due to complications. Therefore, the doctors had to apply an emergency cesarean section. That is how our baby girl was born.
The first few weeks after childbirth were the most difficult in my life. When I remember those days, I still get tears in my eyes. Lilia was in intensive care for 10 days. She was placed in an incubator –that kept my baby warm. The doctors kept a close watch on her blood pressure, heart rate, breathing and temperature. Since Lilia could not breathe on her own, a ventilator was used to help her breathe. I could breastfeed my daughter only when she was strong enough to suckle.
I am thankful to the doctors and nurses who helped Lilia to survive and gave me a hope. I also felt stronger because my husband, my mother and sister were always with me and supported me.
Finally, after an intensive medical care, Lilia was given to me. We followed all the recommendations of the doctors, applied the kangaroo method - the transfer of thermal contact to the child from the parents. We nursed the child according to the recommendations of doctors.
One day, from the windows of my ward of the perinatal center, I remember seeing a little girl, dressed in a beautiful pink dress. She had just learned to walk. Each time she fell down, she got up again and tried to walk on her own. I told myself that I need to pull myself together, be strong, and do everything to see my daughter take her first steps.
"I was happy that I became a father,” says Alexander, my husband. “Although Lilia weighed only 930 grams when she was born, she was a strong girl, who immediately began to fight for life with all her might. I remember that she was immediately transferred to an incubator. Health experts did their best to help Lilia as well as to support us. So, we were sure that everything would be fine with our baby daughter. I advise other parents who are in similar situation to believe their doctors, never give up and provide good care for their child."
We spent exactly 55 days in the hospital, and then we were home. By that time Lilia was 1,800 grams, she could breathe easily and I was happy to continue breastfeeding.
Now our daughter is a year and 5 months old. She is no different from other girls like her and – just like that little girl in a pink dress – she walks by herself. We rejoice at our child’s every new day and every new milestone!
UNICEF REGIONAL DIRECTOR TO VISIT UZBEKISTAN17 July 2018