Smiles hide sadness

Peter and Sam Krieg with two-month-old Lola. Picture: Jon Hewson        www.communitypix.com.au   d442297
Peter and Sam Krieg with two-month-old Lola. Picture: Jon Hewson        www.communitypix.com.au d442297

They were married in February last year and baby Lola made them a family in June this year.

But behind their happy smiles was a horror birth and a rocky start to life for little Lola, who was stillborn and had to be resuscitated.

As a result Lola has brain damage from oxygen deprivation at birth. Her condition is called hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE).

Her parents (both now 23) will not know for sure the extent of her brain damage until she gets older and starts to reach milestones such as rolling over, sitting up and crawling.

Sam had a textbook pregnancy, including the usual morning sickness and growing pains.

Lola was due to be born on June 22. During a check-up on that day to book in for an induction on June 23, Sam mentioned to her midwife that she had felt Lola move only once that day.

A check revealed that Lola�s heart rate was dropping and Sam was booked in for an immediate induction.

Her waters were broken and they were meconium stained, indicating that Lola was in distress.

Sam was taken to theatre for an emergency caesarean section.

�We don�t remember much of what happened in that theatre room as we just concentrated on each other, but as soon as I felt Lola come out I knew something was wrong,� Sam said.

�There was no noise, no whimpers, no screams, no placing her on my chest.

�I remember lying there trying to not look past Peter but couldn�t help but notice about six people gathered around our little baby.�

Lola was having seizures and had to have hypothermia treatment for 72 hours to prevent further damage to her brain.

�We were in a world of shock; we had read all the books on birth and having a baby and thought we were so prepared, but the journey we had been given was not the one we had researched,� Sam said.

�That night was the hardest and it felt like our world had been crushed; all we wanted and prayed for before birth was to have a healthy happy baby and we couldn�t understand why.

�We sat with her day in and day out, talking to her so she got to know our voices and holding her little hand telling her we would stick by her side no matter what.�

Lola�s seizures were stopped with medication.

After two weeks in hospital, Lola was discharged and was allowed to go home.

Information Sam and Peter want pregnant women to know:

– Sam and Peter would like to remind pregnant women to keep note of how much their baby moves.

– Sam said keeping note of how much your baby moves especially in those last few weeks is important.

– HIE is caused by many things including a tangled cord, meconium aspiration, infection or placental failure.

– HIE affects two to nine babies out of 1000.

– On November 8, Sam and Peter will take part in the John Hughes Big Walk to raise money for Princess Margaret Hospital and the neonatal intensive care unit.

– People can donate towards their efforts here.