Jasper and Rory, 34 Weeks

Miracle Mum Dominique shares Jasper and Rory's story
"We had been monitoring reduced growth in twin a (Jasper) since 28 weeks, and eventually, we had to bring our twins into the world earlier than expected due to an increased rate of reduction in growth for both twins observed at our 34 week scan.

As a result, it was decided our boys were to be born on Tuesday the 8th of February at 34+5 weeks via scheduled c-section. We had a turbulent 4 days where James had to organise to get home from his work site (he works FIFO), I had to get steroid injections and covid tests (thankfully negative) and rearrange care for our 2 year old son during the delivery.

The planned c-section went as expected, and both boys were whisked into special care after a quick cuddle. Both needed high flow oxygen but seemed stable with that support during the first 24 hours. However, early Wednesday afternoon it was decided that Jasper was not getting enough support in special care and would need to be transferred (with his brother along as support) from our private hospital to the local public hospital NICU ward.

James went with them and got them settled before going home to rest while I stayed and finally got something to eat and some rest after spending the majority of the prior 4-5 hours with the boys in the special care nursery.

On Thursday morning, we checked me out on a day pass to go visit our boys in NICU. As we were going out into the community it was hospital policy that we needed to complete another RAT upon return to the hospital, so we elected to test when leaving so we didn’t need to wait for results when we got back.

In transit between hospitals, I was notified that I was covid positive. They told me we couldn’t continue to see our boys and that we couldn’t return to continue being a patient at our private hospital. We had a 2 hour wait in the car while the hospital scrambled to work out what to do with us.

They told me there are no facilities to accommodate and support covid positive mothers like there are down in SEQLD, so they told us they had no choice but to discharge me and send me home. When I protested against being discharged, I was told I could be transferred to the public covid unit for assessment overnight but was also told that the ward would not have maternity care/support. We knew we had a breast pump at home and could ring in for midwife support, so feeling abandoned and disregarded, we went home.

We were told that we would be required to isolate the full 7 days before we are allowed near our boys again. The boys were each placed in isolation from each other and couldn’t have anyone visit them on my behalf because they (the boys) were close contacts to me.

I last saw them when they were only 32 hours old. I was fully vaccinated + a booster, and the only reason I tested was because I was entering the community to transit between hospitals. I was also asymptomatic and remained asymptomatic for my isolation period. James never tested positive, however, Parker did, but thankfully, like me, Parker never developed symptoms either.

While I was devastated by what occurred, and it was a constant struggle being separated from our boys, I am so thankful I elected to test “to get it out of the way” before I got to the NICU. We would have been devastated to have carried Covid into a NICU ward filled with babies requiring specialist care.

Our boys returned two negative results each and then were moved out of isolation on day 3 (5 days old) and into the Special Care Nursery. It was a comfort to know that they were doing well and were finally roomed together and sharing the same crib, we couldn’t be with them, but at least they were reunited.

James and I did our best to keep it all together, for ourselves and Parker, but it was so very hard. Our boy kept asking where his baby brothers were all I could say was they were safe at the hospital, but he didn’t understand that and continued to kiss my belly good night as he had prior to the birth.

My only comfort during my isolation was to do my best to express what I could to send milk to them but it was killing me that James and I couldn’t be with our babies. I felt so betrayed and disregarded by the hospital and how they simply threw us out of their care without any regard for the situation they were discharging us into.

We were given no opportunity to prevent James becoming a close contact to me. This meant that he was forced into isolation with me despite returning his own negative test. Because of this, he was therefore unable to be with our newborn twins until an exemption was granted 4 days later.

We were also given scripts but no instructions on timing for delivery of medications. I was not seen by my obstetrician before discharge but was only contacted by phone later in the day to give us information on how to manage my recovery at home. Had a little bit of consideration been given to us and the personal situation we were being discharged into, then the trauma of the experience could have been much less.

Our paediatrician was a big support and advocate for us, and knowing there was little chance of getting me back to the boys sooner, she focused on getting James access to them in my stead.

On the Monday following testing positive, we received a call from her informing us that the hospital had granted James an exemption. Provided he returned a negative on a RAT daily and wore full PPE then he would be able to visit and help feed and care for the twins. When I learnt this news it was like a weight had been lifted, and I felt calmer than I had since I was informed I was positive.

It was such a relief for me that James at least could be with our boys, that they could have their daddy there with them for the remaining 4 days of our forced separation. We made it through the remainder of the isolation period, and the twins and I returned to our private hospital, where I became a boarding mother with the boys to establish suck feeding and get them home.

Our boys were two weeks old on Tuesday the 22/2/22; the date for which we were originally booked in for our scheduled c-section. We had a turbulently traumatic start to their little lives in a way I could never have imagined would have occurred, and I know I have a way to go yet to deal with the full impact of what I feel is my lost 7 days with them.

Once we got our boys home, all I could do was focus on having our boys home while doing my best to balance the conflicting rational and emotional responses churning within me following what happened. I struggled because I didn’t want any other mother/family to go through what I went through. I want to ensure that practices are changed so that the emotional and mental well-being of anyone unfortunate enough to be in a similar situation will be considered and cared for and not just sent home without their babies because they may be physically fit to do so.

I did everything right, I was vaccinated and boostered, so my frustration and trauma was further compounded because I was forced to be separated from my infants so suddenly. I was sent into isolation when I had no covid symptoms and then did not develop any symptoms during or after my isolation period. At the same time, hospital staff blindly followed policies that lost touch with the humane needs of a new mother.

I have since sought therapy and focused on the blessing of having our family together at last, but I know I am not ok following our experience. Going forward, I am focusing on the individuals in my life".



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