[image]GRACE 24 WEEKS.jpg

I was admitted to John Hunter Children’s Hospital at 20wks after I had some bleeding. Ultrasounds showed that everything appeared to be ok, Grace was small but well and no other problems could be detected to explain the bleed. The bleeding continued and every 3rd or 4th day I would have another.

On 25th December at 5am my water broke, I was 23wks 5days, in delivery suite my husband and I spoke to the neonatologist who gave us the figures on what the chances of Grace surviving where, which weren’t the best. I received my first steroid injection and started on antibiotics. Now it was just a waiting game, each day that passed gave Grace a better chance of survival. On the 29th December 2012 at 6pm I started having pains, I phoned my husband, who was on nightshift, but told him not to panic, they were irregular and not too bad, so I thought I still had a bit of time.

Grace was born within the hour normal delivery although breech, unfortunately my husband didn't make it in time, at 24 weeks 2 days weighing a tiny 490g. Dr's where amazed at the fighting spirit she had right from the start. Grace did not need to be ventilated at birth and was placed straight onto CPAP, at her lowest weight she weighed a mere 430 grams, We were all amazed that she was doing so well, all her head scans came back good, she had a minor grade 1 bleed on the second day but the next scan showed it to be resolving. An ultrasound of her heart showed that Grace still had a PDA but that was quiet common for such premature babies, she was give two courses of medication to close the PDA but had no change. Dr's advised us that she would need heart surgery to close the PDA however she was still so small no one would risk putting her under general.

Things seemed to be progressing quiet well until week 5 when Grace became ill with an infection which required her to be ventilated for the first time after a few hours on the ventilator she was swapped to the high frequency ventilator which she remained on for 8 days, shortly after she had recovered from her infection she was transferred by road to the Grace Unit at Westmead for her surgery. Grace had her surgery on 14th Feb, all went well the PDA was successfully closed and we were able to be transferred back to JHCH. Once she arrived back she just went ahead in leaps and bounds, she moved over to Level 2 NICU, came off her CPAP and went onto nasal cannula oxygen, I was able to start breastfeeding it was amazing.

Grace came home at Easter after 99 days in NICU, unfortunately it didn't last and she was readmitted after 4days at home due to weight loss. Grace spent a further 3wks in NICU adjusting her diet and calorie intake. She has finally come home after 123days in NICU, still on oxygen but otherwise well. We are thankful every day to the beautiful people who helped to save our very own Amazing Grace.

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