The Block stars‘ heartbreaking decision after difficult birth
Queensland The Block couple Jimmy and Tam have opened up about the difficult decision to put Tam's health ahead of a desire to expand their family after she suffered potentially life-threatening complications during pregnancy.
The 31-yead-old bar manager had an emergency caesarean to give birth to their daughter, Frankie, now four, after doctors discovered she had pre-eclampsia during a 38-hour labour that left her at high risk of suffering a stroke.
"Normally when you birth the placenta the pre-eclampsia goes but unfortunately it stayed with me, which is really rare," Tam told The Courier-Mail.
"I was in hospital for ten days after Frankie with my blood pressure eventually getting so high I had to be put in ICU (intensive care unit) on a drug called magnesium sulfate, which prevented me from having a stroke."
Jimmy, 33, was forced to care for their newborn daughter on his own while facing uncertainty over Tam's health.
"I remember the feeling of uncertainty, all I could think about was not losing my wife and having to raise our daughter without her," he said.
"It was a very emotional time. Not wanting to go home, leaving the hospital was the hardest part because I didn't know how Tam was doing overnight."
Tam had never thought about having children until she met Jimmy, who had always wanted to be a father, and she fell pregnant 18 months into their relationship.
After the difficult birth, Tam was medicated with four different blood pressure tablets for six months and suffered from anxiety and depression.
"Bringing a child into the world is extremely hard, but when you are so sick you have to worry about your own health as well," she said.
"You just don't expect these things to happen, you picture all the beautiful cuddles getting to know your baby, and learning to breast feed but when you're sick you get all those experiences."
The couple, who went on The Block to set up the best possible future for Frankie, have discussed expanding their family, but Tam struggles with the risk of a second pregnancy.
"It's not something to think about lightly. Every few months we chat about it more because Frankie asks questions about having a brother or sister," she said.
"Mentally I don't think I can bring myself to do it again, I have a chance of getting sick again and it still affects me to this day. We haven't ruled out adopting though."
Jimmy said Tam's health would take priority.
"Because Tam's health is paramount to the whole situation, it's not my choice whether we have more kids or not," he said.
"The risk of Tam getting sick again and the outcome not being known is not worth it. We are blessed with one perfect daughter Frankie, not a lot of people even get the chance to have one so for that we are thankful."
"The day Frankie entered the world I fell so in love with her and that love and bond has only grown day by day. She is everything to me and being a great dad is the most important job in my life."
Offering advice to other families going through a difficult birth or introduction to parenthood, Tam said: "Have faith in the health system and … take advantage of support systems around you and get the help you need when you need it. It's OK to have weak moments, it's not easy."
Frankie will join them in Brighton for the final week of renovations on The Block this week on Channel 9.