In January, we went to our first scan and with tears rolling down our faces, there on the screen was our tiny little baby.
As the weeks and months went on, I had no sickness or pain and promised to enjoy every day of my pregnancy. Before we knew it, it was time for our 20 week scan. Everything was on track, looked great, and we found out we were having a baby boy.
At week 23, I went to work as usual and found myself walking around smiling to myself as I could feel my son kicking. One night while driving home from work, I started to feel some cramping. By 7pm, the cramps were more painful, and by 10pm, I could hardly move from the amount of pain I was in. I called the midwife hotline as the pains were now super intense. The midwife suggested we present ourselves to the hospital we booked for our birth.
The hospital was a 40min drive; during the car ride, I could feel the cramps coming every 5-7 minutes and the pain increasing. On arrival, I was raced upstairs and assessed to find I was bleeding. Moments later, the nurse told me I was fully dilated & in active labour.
My obstetrician arrived within minutes and, after assessing me, explained that they had no choice but to transfer me via ambulance with a midwife in case I gave birth in transition. They needed to race me to a local hospital that could provide the care our and baby I needed.
We watched as the staff got everything ready in the room in case, I delivered the baby while waiting. Still trying to process what was happening, asking myself “But how is this happening, I am only 23weeks and 3 days pregnant???”
We arrived at the hospital and were taken straight in. As the room filled with staff rushing to get everything ready for delivery, we had a head doctor from NICU come and speak to us about the dangers of our son being born and how his body had not fully developed.
Advising the risks that even if our son survived the birth, he may not survive the first 24-48 hours and would have to be placed on breathing support due to his underdeveloped lungs. Then proceeding to explain the different medications they were now giving me to try to delay the birthing process. This included the first shot of steroids with a second to follow 24 hours later to assist the baby's lungs to form.
My labour slowed down and after a few hours I was taken up to a room in the women’s ward. 48hrs in my water dropped, causing a false alarm and another trip down to the birth unit.
After 6 days of medications to try and stop the labour, many conversations with the NICU, and days of reading the paperwork suggesting delivery before 26 weeks wasn’t recommended due to the survival rates and possible complications the baby could suffer, many plans were put in place.
Not wanting to accept that our baby would pass in our arms on delivery due to not recommending resuscitation we said no matter what the journey ahead that we wanted our chance at having parenthood & that night there was no stopping him!
Our beautiful son was born at 24 weeks and 4 days. He was born breach and weighed 720 grams. Straight from delivery, he was rushed away to have breathing inserted.
Without even getting a look at him, after a few minutes, my husband came over to tell me he was alive and breathing, with our obstetrician advising it was a good sign to see our son actually trying to take breaths on his own.
A few hours later, we were taken up to the NICU to see our beautiful baby for the first time. To say it was love at first sight is not what I felt. I was scared, there in front of me lay a baby with paper-thin skin that you see through, tubes & wires that covered him from head to toe, glasses over his eyes protecting him from the humidity lights, and a beanie on his tiny head. All I could do was pray for a miracle.
It was completely out of my control and in the hands of complete strangers to look after our boy. After 2 days we had a meeting with the head of NICU where she told us our son had a level 2 brain bleed, but in good news for a 24 week old baby and I quote “He is needing the lowest level of oxygen and for a 24 weeker, this is the best I have seen”.
Day 7 of life our world was again shaken with a day of needing low levels of oxygen early in the evening he was now needing 100% oxygen.
I left the hospital late that night in tears. I knew something wasn’t right and no one was telling me what was going on. An hour after leaving the hospital I got a call to say “Do not speed please drive safe, your son needs to be taken in for surgery he has perforated his bowel.”
After a 40 mins car trip back to the hospital, he was surrounded by a team of doctors and nurses. Our son was taken to the Children’s Hospital where he was put under anesthesia and had a Penrose drain inserted into his lower tummy
During his 127 days in hospital, our son suffered from multiple blood infections, was treated for NEC, and meningitis, received countless blood transfusions, ROP stage 2 injections, laser eye surgery, twice standing back watching a medical team perform CPR for a collapsed lung and blocked breathing tube, and having surgery for his inguinal hernias, feeding support, 120 days on oxygen support. Every day was a battle for this kid.
But incredibly, after 127 at three different hospitals, our son was able to come home.
There are not enough words to describe the pain you experience as a parent watching your tiny baby suffer day after day, but our story will always be incredible to look back on and see just how strong our son is.
I owe everything to all the medical staff and professionals that were involved in our son's journey. Our life and world have forever been blessed from all the hard work you put into giving our son the best medical help. We will never ever be able to thank you enough, but know we are forever grateful.
Our son is turned 1 (9 months corrected) in May and currently weighs over 8kgs.He absolutely loves life, smiles and laughs each and every day. He is an inspiration to so many people and our absolute miracle baby".
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