Miracle Mum, Shannon shares Archer's story.
"It all started off like any other night for us. My husband had just drifted off to sleep and I laid awake on my phone googling about baby things. Archer was moving around a lot and I was smiling feeling him move about when all of a sudden my waters broke. They didn’t break just a little; it was a huge gush! I jumped out of bed quickly and another huge gush of fluid. I screamed at my sleeping husband as I clenched my belly that my waters had just broken. I remember sitting at the edge of our bed in shock telling myself to not cry while my husband called my parents and 000. I’ll never forget the look of pure panic on his face or the sound of his voice. We were both scared.
The closet big hospital was an hour away and had been closed due to a community COVID-19 outbreak. Luckily, the emergency maternity unit had just opened the week prior so we were able to go there before being transferred five minutes away from
home. I had period pain like cramps all the way up to the Burnie Regional Hospital but they were mild and pretty painless. I arrived at the hospital and was wheeled down into our room. I had a steroid injection in the leg and some tablets to stop me from going into labour. I had an ultrasound and was told that my waters did break and that Archer was head down ready to go but he would be another week away before coming.
I was emergency flown to the Royal Hobart Hospital while my husband drove behind us as he wasn’t allowed to come due to COVID-19 restrictions. Upon my arrival I was checked and within the 40 minute plane flight, I had gone from not being dilated and not in labour to 4cm and in active labour. I was wheeled immediately to the birthing suite and was told that I would be giving birth to our baby boy soon. I was terrified that my husband wouldn’t make it in time as he was still 3.5 hours away and that I would be giving birth to our boy alone. I was put on a magnesium drip and things went pretty quickly until my husband arrived when I was 6cm dilated. I was so relieved to see his face.
14 hours later on the 5th of May 2020 at 11:58am our son was born via natural vaginal delivery. He weighed in at 1.318kg (2 pounds 9 oz but the doctors think he weighed closer to 1kg) and was 39cm long with a tiny 25.5cm head circumference. Archer came out breathing, faintly crying and was placed on the bed between my legs. My husband cut his cord and just like that he was taken to the NICU within a couple minutes. The room that was once filled with 14 extra nurses, doctors and medical teams left and the room was now extremely quiet.
I was able to go meet my baby for the first time and see his face two hours after his birth. I was just so thankful he was here and okay. He had a large PDA (patent ductus arteriosus), a partially collapsed lung, extremely bruised, multiple blood transfusions, apnea episodes, was very brady, skin bug infections and multiple E.Coli eye infections during our NICU journey; but we feel so tremendously lucky.
Archer spent seven weeks in the Royal Hobart NICU before we were transferred back to Burnie Regional Hospital SCN for another three weeks before coming home at 37 weeks (67 days later in total.)
We have now been home for 14 weeks and count our blessings everyday. He is a very talkative, happy and clever little boy who is growing so quickly. I think the birth and NICU journey will be something that will stay with me forever. It was a really hard and lonely time. Some of the days I’m not sure how we managed to get through it, especially through a pandemic but then I look at our son and think, we witnessed a miracle grow right in front of our eyes. He’s a super special boy.
We are so grateful for the doctors and nurses that looked after our little man until he was ready to come home and be reunited with us. They really are heroes to our warriors."
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