Chase's Story, 31 Weeks

Miracle Mum, Hannah shares her story of welcoming rainbow baby Chase into the world after a traumatic two years of trying.

“My Son Chase was born at 31+3 weeks on November 25th at 5:05 pm via emergency C-section.

A little back story on us. My husband and I have been married two years - been together five. We have both had daughters from previous relationships. His daughter is 9 and mine is now 7. We fell pregnant in 2016 with our little Dominic. Unfortunately, we lost him at 32 weeks due to a placental abruption (placenta detached from uterus). Dominic is our angel baby.

We found out that we were pregnant again in May after two years of trying. My husband and I were scared and excited. We found out our rainbow baby was a boy and we were due January 23rd. At every ultrasound I was told ‘wow he has plenty of fluid around him’. Then at 20 weeks we had an ultrasound and it showed extra fluid on his brain. We were referred to a maternal foetal medicine doctor. She redid the ultrasound and confirmed my son had a ‘boring brain’ confirming that it was completely normal.

At 21 weeks I had my first episode of preterm labour, I was given two shots of Brethine to stop my labour and a steroid shot for his lungs. The following night I received another steroid shot. Over the next six weeks I was in the hospital three more times for contractions and not feeling the baby moving. At the six week mark, I was back in the hospital having contractions again, given more doses of Brethine and a dose of Procardia. I had a follow up the very next day and when checked I was 2 centimetres dilated, fully effaced and had bulging waters. The doctor told me my bouts of preterm labour were caused from excess fluid around the baby. He transferred me to a bigger hospital. I was put on a magnesium drip for 26 hours and then released.

The doctor I saw at the bigger hospital told me that because this was my third baby that I would just contract until it turned into to real labour and she wouldn’t be surprised if I was back in three weeks, in labour. Well, I made it to 31 weeks then at 9am on November 25th, my waters broke. I called my husband and my Mum and off to the hospital we went.

I went to the Hospital in my town where my Obstetrician was. I was admitted and checked, I was at 3cm dilated but I wasn’t having contractions (for once) and they wanted me on a magnesium drip again to stop my labour. Again, I was transferred to the bigger hospital and I was scared because in the one hour ambulance ride they couldn’t monitor my baby. I thought for sure I was going to lose him. I arrived at the hospital and they wanted to stop my labour for another four weeks until I was 35 weeks gestation. I cried thinking about being in the hospital that far away from my daughter. The doctors and nurses came in to get me hooked up to antibiotics and to re-hook up my magnesium. While they were working, one nurse shoved me to my right side and said baby was not happy. In a matter of minutes my room was full of nurses and doctors and I was in excruciating pain. Then I heard the words ‘we are taking that baby out today - get her to an OR for a caesarean’.

I was taken to an operating room and all I remember is looking for my husband, and then hearing the heart rate was 63 and dropping. Then I was out - I woke up in recovery. Chase was born at 5:05pm weighing 3lbs 14oz. He had respiratory failure and needed help. The doctor explained how lucky we are to have him here with us and stated if they would have waited even 60 more seconds he would not have survived. The doctor explained that when he delivered my son there was absolutely no amniotic fluid around my him - it was blood, and my placenta was right beside him - it had detached again.

We spent one week on CPAP, 6 days on TPN, and 20 days on caffeine. 

Chase is now almost 2 years old. He weighs 13kg (30lbs) and is thriving. Luckily, he was released from the NICU right before COVID lock downs. Having a newborn during the pandemic is scary let alone a preemie. He did end up with RSV after coming home but like the little fighter he is he kicked RSVs butt. On the positive side of Covid he got to live the first year of his life with both parents at home.

This little boy has been through so much in his first year of life from picking his own due date, to having surgery at 6 months old for hypospadias repair, to needing a helmet to help reshape his head, to needing a second surgery.  And even through all that he just loves life and is a happy boy.

He loves playing soccer with his big sister Charlee and his dogs . He’s a big CoComelon and PJ Mask fan. He can show you his nose, eyes, ears, mouth and his favourite belly. He loves shoes but most of all he loves his mummy and Daddy. He’s not a big eater, in fact he’s rather picky; but he’s alive and thriving and for that I’m thankful.

The doctors made sure to tell us that he would be behind on milestones, and I just want to say instead of being behind he has surpassed his milestones, hitting them on time or before. I know doctors like to go off an average but I want ensure other parents that while those may be considered normal, anyone with a preemie knows that we don’t have normal babies we have tiny superheroes, and just because our babies may not hit milestones when a chart says they should doesn’t mean that you as a parent are doing anything wrong. I used to beat myself up over the thought of my baby being behind or delayed like I did something wrong.

A saying we live by in our house is “Kids are popcorn, all in the same pan under the same heat but not all of them pop at the same time”. Hang in there and just enjoy the little things, or the little wins because honestly with preemies little wins are big wins.  My advice to any mum or dad would be to soak it all in, because honestly they grow so fast and before you know it your tiny preemie is a toddler.” 

Thank you, Hannah for sharing your story.

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