Miracle Mum, Abbey shares her son Eli's story.
"I had a ‘perfect pregnancy’ at all antenatal appointments and attended all of the regular prenatal checks. After some slight discharge and bleeding at 24+1 weeks, I went to the hospital to get it checked and the doctor explained that even though I felt fine, I was 3cm dilated with membranes showing; and as a result, our baby and myself were in danger. At the time, we were living in a regional coastal area, without the facilities of a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). I was given medication to protect the babies lungs and brain, then my husband and I were quickly transported to Centenary Hospital for Women & Children at The Canberra Hospital.
I didn't know what was happening, if we were going to give birth in the ambulance, when we were going to give birth, how we were going to have the baby, the health of the baby, or even if our baby would survive; so many unknowns was scary. After a lot of scans, monitoring, steroids, amazing medical staff and constant prayer, we were given the choice about what medical intervention we would allow for our baby; no intervention, minimal or full intervention. We were supported and advised about the potential health risks and the complications that can occur with premature babies and the long journey ahead if our baby did survive birth.
After much discussion we were looking for any sign of hope that a baby of 24 weeks could survive. We were directed to the Miracle Babies website and found stories of other premature babies. We saw many stories of other micro premature babies that had survived and were growing up happy with their families. With that hope and lots of prayer, we decided to agree to full intervention. Soon after, my placenta detached and I was taken for an emergency caesarean. Our son, Eli was born at 710g. He was taken to the resus bay, then to NICU in the incubator.
Eli was strong but needed intense medical intervention and monitoring. He required blood transfusions, intubation, invasive and non invasive ventilation, antibiotics and much medical support. At about one weeks old, he deteriorated with kidney failure and there were no options for him to have dialysis, as no machines were small enough for him. The medical team had no options besides one common medication that might work and we had to just wait and hope for him to get through the next 72hrs. He did fight through it and continued on his journey. He had many of the common challenges that micro prems face, PDA, Chronic Lung Disease, Retinopathy Of Prematurity, Reflux, low birth weight and feeding issues.
After 156 days in the hospital, with the amazing support of the Neonatal Medical and Nursing team, Social work and Allied health teams, as well as Miracle Babies support through various programs, we were able to leave the hospital with our son and go back home. We had regular appointments with him and he was on various medications for a while. We had to go at Eli’s pace and let him go at his own pace through early developmental milestones. We celebrated each milestone he made along the way.
Eli is now 2 years old - happy and cheeky. We have been so blessed to have him with us and to have been so supported on this unexpected and rollercoaster of a start to his life."
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