Nathaniel's Story, 27 Weeks   

Five years on Miracle Mum, Melisa, still remembers the sounds and smells of the NICU after having baby Nathaniel at 27 weeks.

"At about 9:45am on 1 February, I was getting out of bed when I suddenly felt a gush of fluid. I quickly went to the toilet to check and it was clear fluid. I rang my local hospital and informed them what had happened and they told me to eat some breakfast and pack a bag and make my way in slowly. I went and woke my partner up and said we need to go to the hospital as my waters had broken!

We got to the hospital and they took me to the labour ward where they did an internal and said yes my waters had broken! They then organised for me to be transferred to a Level 3 hospital which was equipped to deal with babies born under 32 weeks. The hospital ended up being three hours from my hometown! I was given the first steroid injection and placed on a magnesium drip.

I arrived at the new hospital where they checked me over and admitted me to the ward where I was to stay until my baby was born. I was given the second steroid injection the following day and put on IV antibiotics. Everything was going fine until four days later when, in the early morning I felt a weird sensation and paged the doctor. I was sent for blood tests and an AFI. The blood test results showed my white cell count was dangerously high and bub had decreased foetal movements and was tachycardic. I was going into shock as my blood pressure was getting too high, so at 1pm they decided to perform an emergency caesarean.

22 minutes later Nathaniel was born. His apgars at one minute were 6 and at five minutes were 8. He was placed on CPAP for three days then put onto high flow at room air for 28 days which was gradually decreased. It was three days before I was allowed to see him and days before I could hold him.

There was one day in March that I can recall so clearly - I was having photos done of him while in NICU and his stats started to decrease and he wasn't picking himself back up. He had started turning a dusky blue and purple as his oxygen stats got lower, his heart rate did too. The nurses had to use the neopuff to bring him back. He was then placed back on caffeine to see if that helped over the coming weeks.

I found NICU mentally and emotionally tough and still have days where I can picture all the things that went on in NICU and hear the sounds, and I remember all the smells.

Nathaniel is now a happy and healthy (aside from having Asthma and Epilepsy) 5 year old who started primary school this year."

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