Lara's story

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Hi, we're Lara's parents, Luke and Alana and we also have two other children, Alyssa (4yrs) and Rhett (2yrs).

Our baby Lara Rose was delivered at 25+4 weeks 860g (lowest weight 748g) under general anaesthetic due to Placenta Abruption.

She is currently 40 days old and 1.39kg (7th December 2017) and we have been told she will remain in hospital until her due date (6th February 2018) at the earliest.

We live in the country, approximately 200km from the hospital Lara is in, which makes family life a little tricky. 2 weeks after delivery, Ronald McDonald House came to the rescue and was able to provide accommodation for all 4 of us, 

Luke has gone back home to work, coming up to Adelaide on the weekends (which sometimes include Friday and/or Monday!). 

Our eldest daughter Alyssa, is nearing the end of kindy, so with the great help of our parents, family and friends, she has been able to attend as normal and come back to Adelaide on weekends. We are trying to keep her life as normal as possible!

Christmas Day will obviously be very different. We will be in the Ronald McDonald House with our eldest two kids opening presents like normal, then into the hospital to see Lara (we think she just wanted an extra Christmas!). We hope to have lunch with my parents before heading in to spend some more time with Lara in the afternoon. Even though i would love to just spend all Christmas Day with her, then the older children would be missing out. What a juggle it is. To me Christmas is all about family and even more the joy for children and not having my family together is going to make for a very hard day. 

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My pregnancy started off well, however with the usual morning sickness and tiredness! I then had one off bleeds at 9, 12 and 14 weeks. It wasn’t until the 28th August that I started feeling a little off and the bleeding started again, but this time it didn’t go away, it was happening daily. I was booked for a scan which found I had a sub-chorionic haematoma which was causing the bleeding. This continued and I had multiple trips to hospital and admissions when the bleeding pattern changed and I needed to see a doctor weekly to scan and measure this haematoma.

On Thursday 26th October, I was home and passed what I thought was the troublesome haematoma, so I rang my obstetrician who advised me what to do. Things had settled, so I went to bed and woke for a toilet stop at 6am with a heavy bleed; a lot more than I had previously experienced. I made the call and took the 200km trip to hospital in an ambulance. 

On arrival, things had settled again and observations were done. A scan was booked for the afternoon and I was admitted for a night of observation.

My husband arrived for the scan and we were told the haematoma had gone but there were several other small clots seen and an edge bleed near the placenta. The rest of the night ran as it had been since 17 weeks. I woke with a bleed at 5am and had another at 7am. I had a foetal doppler heart check after each bleed which were fine, but the last one sounded completely different. The student nurse said she would go get the midwife to check and when they arrived back it was checked again and all sounded ok. I sent Luke a text to see what time he would be in and he was on his way, as he was unable to stay in the hospital.

Once he arrived, I tried to eat some breakfast which was when I started to feel a bit off. The only way I can describe how I felt was as though something just came over me very quickly, I felt weak, faint, sweaty, and my heart started pounding. I told Luke I’m really not feeling well, so he buzzed a nurse. She came back and said she would check the baby again as I wasn’t feeling well. The heart rate wasn’t right, she looked up at me and asked if that was the sound I heard earlier and I said yes. It was an abnormal heart rhythm. In that moment she buzzed for assistance and before I knew it she hit the emergency button above my bed and there were people everywhere in my room around my bed saying all sorts of things! Two things I remember vividly are “please move, you’re in our way” (to Luke as he was holding my hand) and “someone call Anthea (my obstetrician) she’s a private patient” which was called from my door down the corridor to the desk. Things moved so quickly, I remember hearing over the loud speaker “code 0 antenatal room 2”. 

On the way to the lift I was crying, I knew this was serious. Soon we were all in the lift and I had focused on a doctor who held my hand and began telling me what was going to happen. If the baby was still showing signs of distress once in theatre, I would have a caesarean. I knew I needed to listen to what she was telling me even though I was so scared. She went through everything that would and or could happen. Then, as my bed was wheeled into theatre, my heart broke as the doors shut with Luke on the other side. 

Looking around there were so many people in the room doing their own job with lots of communication. I was asked to move beds and they checked the baby again and said “Alana, this is it your baby needs to come out now” and, as if I wasn’t frightened enough, I started haemorrhaging. While I had the mask on and they were putting me to sleep, I kept telling them “I’m bleeding, I’m bleeding”. 

Lara was delivered at 8.30am.I woke in recovery with Luke by my side and all I remember is crying a lot and telling him over and over again I’m so frightened. He held me and said “I know, but it’s over now and everything is ok. We have a baby girl, we have a baby girl!”

I was in recovery for a long time due to low body temperature (around 35.1). I was moved into a delivery room and finally, I was wheeled into NICU in my bed to see my baby for the first time at 6.30pm.....it didn’t feel right.

Was she really my baby? This was so hard for me. it just didnt feel right after previously experiencing 2 natural vaginal deliveries and the feelings you have when you hear the first cry and are told the sex of your baby. These are unbelievable feelings that i was unable to experience not to mention what luke also missed out on. I think i was actually in shock to even think it was possible to have a baby at 25weeks. Also the hard feeling of being robed of not being able to enjoy the chosen 3rd (last) pregnancy or even needing to wear maternity clothes, to feeling so truly blessed to have our miracle baby with us for an extra christmas. Someone was definitely watching over me and my family on this day!

We spent some time with Lara before heading back to the room when Luke was able to fill me in with some details of the surgery. To start with, Lara and I were both very lucky we were already in the hospital. There was a hidden clot (6 X 6 X 1cm) that was between the placenta and the uterus which caused a lot of the problems. It was nearly as big as the one I passed on the Thursday. They estimated I lost between 1.5 and 2 litres of blood and needed 2 blood transfusions and a clotting agent. There were approximately 15 people in the theatre room. Due to baby being breech and early gestationI couldn’t have a low transverse c-section and needed a classical c-section (where they cut the uterus vertically) with a chance of needing a hysterectomy also if unable to stop bleeding.

Lara and I both had a lot of people work on us to get us both stable. When Lara was delivered, she was not breathing but her heart was beating. She also needed blood transfusions. I was monitored 3-4 hourly a delivery room where I had another bag of blood and also an iron transfusion, before moving to post-natal 4 days later. But the wow for me was from the moment the emergency button was pushed to Lara being delivered was 12 minutes! also needed blood transfusions. I was monitored 3-4 hourly a delivery room where I had another bag of blood and also an iron transfusion

My first cuddle was 5 days in and was a very emotional time. An amazing experience! 

Lara is in NICU putting on weight and doing well. Her biggest issue is her lungs at the moment. She has chronic lung disease and is currently on the ventilator. She’s had 4 attempts to move onto the C-PAP machine over the last 5 weeks, but isn’t quite ready yet. She is certainly keeping everyone on their toes!

I am recovering well, enjoying cuddles when they are offered and taking each day as it comes.

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