Samuel, 30 Weeks

Miracle mum Kathryn shares Samuel's story:

2020 was a memorable year for all of us, with horrific bushfires raging through the state and the threat of a global pandemic which eventuated in numerous lockdowns and border closures and fear of the unknown with families isolated, remote learning and working from home becoming the new "norm".

Throw into the mix pregnancy complications resulting in being airlifted out of a country town in the peak of bushfires, a preterm birth (30 weeks) and severe pre-eclampsia/near-death experience, 2020 was a year to forget..... well almost.
Samuel arrived in the midst of all this turmoil ready to fight and fight he did!
In the hours leading up to his emergency delivery I had been transferred from the antenatal ward in a medical emergency to the delivery room due to the rapid onset of pre-eclampsia. On top of this my umbilical blood flow had all but ceased meaning Samuel was hanging on by a thread.
I was on my own through all of this as my husband was back in Mudgee looking after our 2 older sons.
As a mum, you stay strong for the baby and do everything you can to protect them setting fears aside to focus. However, my body was failing him and completely out of control medically.
Whilst all this was going on in Nepean, over 200km away my husband, Matthew, was making the mad dash to Penrith, leaving our other boys in the care of their grandparents, to be there for Samuel's arrival and I prayed he would make it in time to advocate for him and make any medical decisions that might need to be made while I was in theatre and recovery.
I was rushed into theatre and Matthew had still not arrived. My fear increased, added to by the fact that the spinal block was having no effect and I needed to be put under general anaesthetic to get him delivered ASAP.
As it happened Matthew had arrived just as they had put me under and was not allowed into theatre. He was there thankfully to escort Samuel to the NICU and remain with him until I was back on the postnatal ward.
The following hours and days were some of the hardest, as I developed eclampsia and ended up in ICU for several days, at one point doctors even gave Matthew the "if she makes it through the night she'll survive" talk.
Meanwhile Samuel was receiving the best possible care in the NICU and had even come off CPAP breathing on his own!
I was able to express and provide him with breastmilk which made me feel connected to him and gave me a purpose while I was unable to do much more.
We were fortunate to gain a place in the amazing Hope Cottage accommodation at the rear of the hospital and this allowed us to stay with Samuel and see him every day.
Matthew returned home after a couple of weeks to continue care for our two boys and establish as much as possible a "normal" home routine for them, returning to work and school.
I remained at Nepean with Samuel for a further 9 weeks before we were ready to go home.
We returned home to face a new hurdle - Covid-19. We had been home for only two weeks when the first lockdown was enforced.
This meant we had no "village" around us to help and support us as we adjusted to having a preemie at home and processing the trauma we had all been through.
Thankfully our amazing community health team were able to still attend our home under all the restrictions, to complete Samuel's health checks.
Samuel has been exceeding expectations ever since. He has been ahead of all his milestones, and I put that down to his fighting nature and not wanting to miss out on anything his older brothers are doing. He is fiercely loyal and so caring whilst also having a stubbornness to match. This doesn't mean there haven't been set backs and a few hurdles along the way but he has fought them all head on.

Samuel is now preparing to start school next year which is mind bending to say the least, after the way he entered the world and all that we have experienced since.

As a family we had hurdles to overcome with mental health stressors, namely postnatal depression and PTSD, trauma and separation anxiety. It felt like the fog would never lift but thanks to the health care team here in Mudgee and through Miracle Babies support we have come out the other side and are thriving.

We are blessed to have been under the care of the best medical teams at Nepean as well. They are the reason Samuel, and I are both still here.

Thank you for taking the time let me share some of our story with you and I hope and pray for you all on your own journeys.

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