Miracle Dad, Frank shares the emotional journey he and his wife Di travelled to welcome their two beautiful boys into the world.
"When my wife and I fell pregnant quickly and unexpectedly in 2008, we were so thrilled. We began to prepare for the new arrival and had many hopes and dreams but, at around 19 weeks into the pregnancy, Di began to feel pain. After visiting her obstetrician, he told her she was experiencing normal growth pains and that it was probably due to the ligaments around her pelvis stretching. He advised her to go home, take some Panadol and rest.
When the pain was not subsiding, she contacted him again and he gave her the same advice. This went on for a few days. After those few days, she knew something was not right and made the trip in to see him and demanded an ultrasound. At this stage she was nearing 20 weeks of pregnancy. The ultrasound showed she was 3cm dilated and the pain she was feeling was labour!
He directed her to go home and pack a bag and get to hospital immediately. The next morning, she would be scheduled to have a cervical stitch to try and stop labour.
Unfortunately, during the procedure, her membranes ruptured. What did this mean? Could this pregnancy go on? Were we going to lose our boy? We were devasted but hopeful after a midwife told us her water could replenish by drinking a lot of fluid and to stay on bed rest. We were sent home to wait it out.
Whilst we did everything the doctor and midwife advised, she went into labour about five days after being dismissed from hospital. Our son, Sebastian, was born at 21 weeks. He was born alive but was too little to be saved. He lived for approximately 20 minutes and died peacefully in our arms.
We left the hospital the same day, with empty arms and a heavy heart. My wife was absolutely devasted and cried like I have never seen her cry before. I felt helpless and could only hug her and reassure her that this was not her fault.
Our nightmare did not end there. After birthing, her bleeding would not stop. It was very heavy and painful bleeding. I contacted her obstetrician who told me she would need a curette and he booked her in for the next day. She had the curette and we were sent home.
After this curette, the bleeding still did not stop. There was so much blood and I was so concerned for her. We went to his rooms and he performed an ultrasound. The ultrasound showed there was still placenta present and that a second curette would be needed. The following day, she went back in for her second procedure.
Waiting in the waiting room, the doctor came out to tell me there were complications and he could not stop the bleeding. She was haemorrhaging and could be faced with a hysterectomy if the bleeding could not be controlled. It was a waiting game. My poor wife just lost a baby, and now was faced with the possibility she may never have another baby.
Thankfully, the bleeding stopped after several hours, and we were sent home. What an emotional few days we just had. We knew that we now needed to take care of ourselves and try to heal from this pain. We held his funeral and buried him with my wife’s mother, knowing he would be safe and loved with her. It was our only comfort during this time.
About six months later, my wife was ready to start trying for another baby. We spend the next few months hoping for positive news but the negative results were only adding to her anxiety and depression, so we made the decision to get some medical advice to ensure she had healed properly and we were on the right track.
We visited an IVF clinic where she had blood work done and an ultrasound to check the health of her uterus. The IVF Professor advised us that the two curettes performed after our loss, damaged her uterus to the point that she would probably never fall pregnant naturally. There was way too much scarring. At 38 years of age, she knew she did not have much time, so we decided to embark on our IVF journey to start a family.
The first cycle proved successful with one healthy 5-day embryo surviving. The implant took and we were pregnant! So many mixed emotions with this news. Happiness and fear, the top 2.
She got a High-Risk Pregnancy Specialist Obstetrician for this pregnancy and the decision was made to put in a cervical stitch at 14 weeks. After this procedure, she kept bleeding and had pain, and due to our history, our Obstetrician decided it was best to place her on best rest, in hospital, where she could be constantly monitored. Week after week went by and even though her bleeding did not stop, and we had a few scares along the way, the cervical stitch was working and the baby was thriving.
At just past 27 weeks, our Obstetrician said she could go home – his words were “I am going to send you home today. Even if the baby is born now, it is a viable gestation with a good outcome”.
We were elated but frightened at the same time but her newly found freedom was short lived. Her waters broke in the middle of that night, so we made the trip straight back to hospital. She was given steroids to help the baby’s lungs and the cervical stitch was removed in preparation for delivery.
She held on for a few days but at 28 weeks, the monitor showed our baby was in distress and she was rushed for an emergency C-Section.
Fabian was born weighing 1.2 kilos and spent the next ten weeks in NICU at Westmead Hospital, and the final two weeks at Westmead Private Hospital to “fatten up”. He did so well through his NICU journey and exceeded all expectations. Today he is a kind, funny and adventurous boy who loves sport and has almost outgrown me in height! What a blessing.
Four years later, we embarked on our second IVF journey and we were so blessed that was successful as well! This time there were no complications during her pregnancy. We had the same High-Risk Obstetrician who allowed her to go in for weekly cervical checks up until 28 weeks (even though he did not think this was necessary, he allowed it to settle her anxiety). We will be forever grateful for the kindness and understanding he showed us.
We suffered, we lost, but we now have our two beautiful boys and an angel watching over us."
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