Michaela, 37 Weeks and over   

Miracle Mum, Jonalyn shares the story of how a handful of minutes meant the difference between life and death for her baby.

"For some, 8 minutes mean a lot. How do you qualify minutes in the context of "life"? When do you say "go" and when do you say "stop"? The doctor who held our baby's lifeless body decided to keep on going, until she decided to breathe after 8 minutes and was declared "alive" at 9:02 pm on the 3rd of the 3rd, 2020. Miracles do happen. She's a fighter, this little one. But I wasn’t awake to witness it all.

After 29 hours of induced labour, they ended up escalating my case to emergency C-section. Even to this day, we are still processing what happened and where it went wrong. I can’t say I’m angry anymore. Maybe more disappointed in my body really. What were the chances of my experience ending up in the 10% failed cases of epidural? Where it only really covered more of my right side, but for some reason my left side was still feeling the pain? Baby was getting distressed, heartbeat slowing down with each contraction, oxygen levels going down and to make it worse, my blood pressure was hitting 190/102. They said I was passing out. All I remember was that the room was filled with midwives and doctors, 13 in total - all panicking about the situation. They still wanted to push for natural birth but the combination of distressed baby, severe pre-eclampsia and risk of a seizure was just enough for them to make the late call for a C-section. We just couldn’t understand why they had to wait so long.

We weren’t able to experience the whole surgery. The epidural failed again and I felt the sharp pain of the blade as they cut through - so they had to quickly admit general anaesthetic - then I passed out. I woke up around midnight in the ICU - the last place I expected to be. When you work through a birthplan, you tend to paint this picture in your head that after all the pain you went through, you’d think it was all worth it because you’ve got your child in your arms, fully alive, crying and kicking. In my case, I woke up to a fully lit room, attached to an oxygen tank, arms with 5 cannulas sticking out, surrounded by the ICU evening shift and without knowing if the C-section went well and if my baby was alive. It was only when I was in my right senses that they gave me updates. Bub was 3 floors below me, in the special care unit.

After an hour, my partner entered the room and showed me her photo. I cried so much as I stared at it. She had so many tubes, needles and the CPAP respiratory equipment attached to her. Never had I painted such a picture in my mind.

After 2 days, they finally got my blood pressure "sort of" stable. Despite the medicated grogginess, I asked them to get me on a wheelchair so I can see my daughter. They finally decided to move me to the maternity ward with my first stop over at the special care unit. As I approached her unit I couldn’t help but cry and the tears just kept on coming. The group of paediatricians gave way as they were discussing her case. Apparently, she was having apneas where she would stop breathing for 20 to 30 seconds. So, the main paediatrician decided to call for a brain scan and EEG brain wave test to see if there were any brain traumas. We also had to provide a video for the general assessment tests due to the fears that she might have Cerebral Palsy due to the challenging beginning.

The results all came back clear, to our relief. Bub spent almost 2 weeks in the special care unit. We counted small wins. As the days passed by we enjoyed each of the limited kangaroo cuddle moments - as we had her on our chest in skin to skin contact, it seemed to make her more stable. I was released by the doctors earlier than her. And that moment walking out of the hospital empty handed was heartbreaking, but we knew it was for the best and that she was in the best of care. By the time she was released and given the go signal, it was a cloudy day in Sydney, but our hearts were exploding with joy because we finally got to take her home.

She is now in her 4th month, happy, gaining weight, and a pure bundle of joy. We know we are still not out of the woods since we are still monitoring her movements and working with the physio for any signs of Cerebral Palsy. It will be a waiting game, but for now, we are enjoying and loving every moment of it. We still ask for prayer warriors hoping that she will pass all of the upcoming tests.”

Thank you Jonalyn for sharing your story.

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