Looking at her baby daughter’s tiny struggling body is the hardest thing Kristy McIntyre has had to do in her life.
Weighing a minuscule 1194 grams and born 13 weeks premature, Tayah fought hard for her life. Tubes, wires and needles sprouted from her alien-like body as she struggled to stay alive.
Fast forward four years and Tayah is healthier than anyone could have hoped. But she is one of the lucky ones.
“Tayah is amazing and she has just surprised everyone with how well she has done and how quickly she has caught up. We’re very lucky,” Mrs McIntyre of Stanford Merthyr said.
Mrs McIntyre has decided to share her story in celebration of this month’s Miracle Month of May – a national awareness campaign highlighting the struggle facing Australian premature and sick babies and their families.
The McIntyres were minutes into their first family holiday when Mrs McIntyre’s waters broke.
“I went straight into hospital and was put on steroids to help Tayah’s lungs and basically we played the waiting game,” she said.
But at 27 weeks Mrs McIntyre suffered a cord prolapse and Tayah’s life was again threatened.
“The staff had eight minutes to get her out alive,” she said. “After Tayah was born we took one day at a time.
“It’s a rollercoaster ride because you can go from such a high to everything being so great and then you hit rock bottom and I felt very guilty that I couldn’t do the job that I was meant to do as a mother.”
Mrs McIntyre – also mum to Hayden, 13, and Noah, 10 – co-ordinates the Miracle Babies Foundation’s Nurture Group in Maitland.
“Everything is so busy when you are in hospital so you always have something to keep your mind occupied and you always have people around you, but then you come home and you are left with this baby and that’s when you take in what’s happened and that’s when it becomes hard,” she said.
“And it breaks my heart to see mothers go through what I went through.”