My 1st son Caden was delivered by emergency caesarean due to fetal distress (29 + 2 weeks), learning the hard way that not all pregnancy's and births are text book I decided to have a private obstetrician to be on the safe side. Honestly after that decision was made it never entered my thoughts that I may encounter problems with another pregnancy.

My pregnancy was moving along without any hitches, I had reached the magic 12 week mark, was feeling really well and it was the week of Christmas celebrations. On Christmas Eve I was 12 1/2 weeks pregnant when my world came crashing down, I started to haemorrhage and was placed on strict bed rest for at least 1 week.

After obeying the obstetrician's rules I was allowed off bed rest the following week and told to take things very easily. I continued to bleed on and off quite heavily in the weeks to come and after a consultation with a haematologist and some blood tests it was discovered that I had a blood clotting disorder called Factor IV Leiden. I was also placed under the care of the Feto-Maternal Unit and Liverpool Hospital and the three specialists watching over my care and that of my unborn child decided even with the constant bleeding it was worth the risk to have me administer myself daily injections to help thin my blood.

During an early ultrasound it was detected that my uterine arteries where not functioning effectively which in turn was affecting the blood supply to the baby. Fortnightly scans were scheduled to monitor the baby's development and closely watch the blood flows through the arteries and umbilical cord. With each scan the blood flows were progressively worsening, my placenta wasn't functioning properly, the baby was not getting all the nutrients it needed and the babies growth was being restricted (IUGR).

By 24 weeks there was minimal blood flow through the umbilical cord and we were running out of time, I was admitted into hospital for close monitoring with the view of re-scanning in a few days. I was placed on bed rest with bathroom privileges, and underwent a CTG trace twice a day to monitor the baby's heartbeat and movements. Even though I was hoping against hope that I wouldn't have to deliver at 25 weeks, I agreed to start the course of steroid injections in case the baby needed to be delivered in an emergency.

My next scan was scheduled for the Monday and was required to begin fasting at midnight the night before in case we were at our worst case scenario. I was extremely nervous and hoping that there had been improvement over the past days on bed rest. The scan detected that there was absolutely no blood flow going through the umbilical cord, the baby's declining welfare was of our utmost concern and the decision was made to deliver later that evening. I was prepped for theatre and wheeled down around 7.30pm. As with my first delivery I really wanted to be awake, but unfortunately the spinal block did not work effectively and with an urgency to deliver I agreed to have a general aesthetic.

I woke up not long after delivery to be told that I'd had another little boy and was relieved to hear he had come out kicking and crying. Eli Sydney was born at 25 + 4 weeks gestation on the 4th April 2005 at 8.13 pm. He weighed 520 grams, was 28.2 cm long and his head circumference was 20.8 cm.

Eli breathed on his own for about 15 minutes before needing to be intubated, and then a couple of hours later he was on CPAP. He was stable on CPAP for approximately 4 weeks and had the mixed bag of premmie problems like jaundice which required phototherapy, suspected NEC treated with antibiotics, feed intolerance, Grade I Interventricular Haemorrhage (IVH), severe chronic lung disease and a Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA). He then developed an infection, which made his health deteriorate rapidly and he needed to be intubated.

It was at this same time - 29 weeks that we agreed to him undergoing heart surgery to ligate his PDA, he had been given 2 courses of medicine to close the duct however they were not effective. He was transferred by NETS to the Royal Hospital for Woman at Randwick where he underwent heart surgery and was then transferred back to Liverpool.1 week later he was extubated and put back on CPAP.

At 36 weeks Eli was finally able to come off CPAP and onto Low Flow. The same week he was transferred to the Children's Hospital at Westmead to undergo laser surgery on his eyes for Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP). He was intubated for the surgery however had trouble with his breathing post op so was still intubated when he was transferred back to Liverpool 2 days later.

Back at Liverpool he was extubated and put on CPAP but continued to have bradycardia and desaturations, he had to be re-intubated. Blood samples showed Eli had developed a very serious and life threatening Staph Aureus infection. The coming days were very daunting; his health continued to deteriorate, he developed pneumonia and had a partial lung collapse. I was really expecting the Doctors to take me back into the quiet room and tell me there was nothing more they could do for him. Then as quickly as he got sick he began to improve, a few days later he was extubated back to CPAP, a few more days past when at 37 weeks he was finally back on Low Flow.

The next month in Newborn Care went by with no real setbacks and Eli continued to grow and learnt to breast feed. We threw a little family party for his "100th Day" with balloons and party hats. He also underwent surgery for a bilateral inguinal hernia repair in preparation for his discharge.

We were due to take Eli home on the 23rd July 2005 however when we arrived to take him home he had a very distended tummy so he stayed in overnight for observation. The next day his tummy had improved and we were finally discharged from Newborn Care on the 24th July 2005, weighing 2110grams and was 1 week corrected or 112 days old.
Eli came home on Low Flow oxygen, which ceased around 5 months of age (2 months corrected), he also came home with an NG tube, which we used to administer his night time feeds for a few weeks.

Though he has remained small, he is slowly catching up, his development is right on track and he is now a very healthy 3 year old. He is extremely cheeky, constantly on the go and loves everything to do with the outdoors. We have been blessed with another very happy boy and are so very grateful to the wonderful medical team that helped give us our second little miracle.

A few stats:

  • Days in hospital = 112 days
  • Intubated = Total of 22 days
  • CPAP Support = Total of 59 days
  • Transfusions = 3 blood and 3 platelet
  • Hospitals = 3
  • Operations = 3 (Heart, Eyes, Hernia) at 3 different hospitals
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