March Mom of the Month

Late last year, Tameka moved from Oklahoma to Fort Wayne, leaving behind her family and friends to be closer to her husband’s job. Soon after, she discovered she was pregnant with twins. With her support system hours away and her husband busy with his job, Tameka reached out for support. She was referred to Healthier Moms and Babies through WIC to get the encouragement and education she needed. Tameka’s first pregnancy had been successful with no complications, but for her pregnancy with twins—which put her at a higher risk for poor outcomes—she wanted all the information she could get on what to expect, how to prepare, and what she could do to give her babies the best start to life. She was introduced to her case manager, Ashley. From the beginning, Ashley brought education on the signs of preterm labor, what to eat and what not eat while pregnant, and more. Tameka’s first pregnancy was successful, but she wanted to be extra prepared for her first pregnancy with twins.

Tameka’s pregnancy began routinely, but as she was halfway through her second trimester, she began experiencing complications. In September, Tameka checked herself into the hospital—“something didn’t feel right.” At the hospital, they saw something wasn’t right—her daughter’s amniotic sac was in a position to where Tameka could go into labor any minute and lose both of her babies. Tameka was given a cervical cerclage and put on bedrest. The doctors did all they could to prevent preterm labor—and Tameka did all she could to follow the advice of the doctors.

Preterm birth is more common with moms pregnant with mutiples, but Tameka still did what she could to stay pregnant. She took her bedrest seriously, moving her bed to the living room to give her the shortest distance between her bed, the kitchen, and the bathroom. At 24 weeks, Tameka checked herself into the hospital once more. The cervical cerclage had come lose and she was at risk to go into labor. She was monitored closely by the hospital staff. On October 29, 2018 at 25 weeks, Tameka gave birth to Hakeem and Oliva. Both babies were just under two pounds.

Tameka with Hakeem.jpg

Their lives have been a long battle of treatments and surgeries; Tameka has been hard at work to be exactly what her babies need. She knows every treatment, every risk factor, every outcome her babies have underwent; she took CPR lessons at the hospital; she pumped for the first two months, driving bags of milk between hospitals. She splits her time between Fort Wayne and Indianapolis, being there for both of her babies, her two-year-old daughter at home, and her husband. Hakeem was able to come home, while Oliva has continued her treatment at Riley Children’s Hospital.

Tameka with Olivia.jpg

This past week, following an outbreak of RSV—a virus that has lead the quarantine of many NICU’s in the state—Hakeem started to develop symptoms of the virus. What feels like a common cold to adults can be deadly to babies—especially babies who were born premature. When he suddenly stopped breathing, Tameka jumped into action. She called 911 and began preforming CPR while she waited for the ambulance to arrive. He was admitted to the NICU and is currently in recovery.

Through all of this, Tameka has worked hard, empowered by the education and encouragement of Healthier Moms and Babies. She has appreciated her relationship with her case manager, Ashley. Since most of Tameka’s support is a few states away, she has benefited from the consistency and security of their monthly visits. Each month, Ashely was there ready with information, support, and a listening ear. While on bedrest, Tameka valued Ashley’s appointments; Tameka was determined to follow the doctor’s orders, but weeks of little interaction left her stir-crazy. She was grateful for Ashley’s lessons and guidance throughout her pregnancy. When Tameka was on the way to the hospital in September, she texted Ashley; with every new update, Tameka has updated Ashley; with every new update, Ashley has offered encouragement and insight.

Ashley commends Tameka’s openness to learning new things and her ability to take all that life has thrown at her. Tameka says, “It’s been a rollercoaster—and it’s still going.” You don’t always get a say in what life throws at you, but you do get a say in how you respond. Tameka has responded by juggling it all and taking it one day at a time, all while being the best mom she can be.