After having my 3rd baby, Mikey at just 32+3weeks I knew to watch out for the same signs that led up to his early birth, and although I was distracted with my 9yo, 6yo, and 17month old about 2 weeks before Amelia was born I definitely sensed that things were progressing towards another early birth.

I kept telling my partner Michael, that something just felt different yet there were absolutely NO physical signs or symptoms to be able to report to a midwife or GP on my check-up. So rather I organised the house and packed my hospital bag 'just in case' because previous experience taught me that when things start, they start and go very quickly! From waters breaking to when Mikey was born it was less than 24hours.

At 28 weeks I had some bleeding and went into my arranged hospital where a fibronectin test showed positive and I was given the 'steroid' needle, and then told I had to stay overnight at King Edward Memorial Hospital for observation because of my previous premmie and to receive the second needle.

Nothing became of the bleed and I went home, at least with some relief that, as with Mikey, I'd had the steroid needles and at least that would help Amelia's lung function should she be born.

The following Sunday at 28+5 weeks after cleaning non-stop for days for an upcoming rental inspection, I bent down to take laundry out of the front loader and GUSH... my waters broke.

I felt instantly deflated... All the extra precaution and eating extra healthy, avoiding anything risky just-in case. All the things we do day to day while pregnant to ensure a healthy and happy baby, had been slapped in my face like I'd done none of those things right...

I called my partner and he rushed home within minutes. I became my weird calm self when things like this happen, bar the silent tears) and went into organising mode, calling the right people and organising where children would stay.

Off to the hospital we went expecting that she would be arriving that day as did Mikey so soon after my waters had broken. However, they admitted me on antibiotics and explained that should I not go into labour I could just stay like that (leaking amniotic fluid), for as long as I didn’t get and infection and didn’t get contractions! This surprised me, I hadn't yet learnt anything different to the standard "no longer than 24 hours" rule with broken waters. They said at the end of a week stay in hospital they would reassess should nothing change and would carry on like that, reassessing weekly until she was born.

Every day at the hospital I told the doctors and midwives repeatedly that with Mikey I'd had an infection (found out 5 days after his birth, cellulitis), however I didn't present with a temperature at any stage. With Mikey, it remained undiagnosed despite my complaints of pain, until and ultrasound 5 days post op, showed huge sub dermal hematomas and when my caesarean scar finally burst, swabs were taken and I got extremely sick. All the while with no temperature.

I felt this was key information because they were monitoring my temperature for infection alone. 3 days of laying in hospital and worrying I'd have an infection and no one would know, I kept having dizzy spells and that night couldn't sleep and felt so cold I wondered how long I'd have to feel sick before a doctor would listen. I kept getting up and getting hot milos and asking for heat packs just to keep me warm. I even began shivering and had blue nails and lips! The midwife was taking observations every 30-45 minutes. She listened to me about not having a temperature when I had the infection last time and even though I had a normal temperature just 30 minutes before... she just about jumped out of her skin when she read I'd had a temperature all of sudden of 38.9c. I was a bit delirious by that stage but as she raced off she was saying I'd presented with Hyperthermia (which I'd thought she meant I was cold not knowing that was hypothermia). I said "yeah I do feel really cold" but she corrected me later (as she stole my heat packs and rugs!) actually I had such a high temperature that I thought I was cold!

I was rushed to labour like lightning and as Michael was called to come in they gave me more drugs for this and that, one made me so HOT I thought I'd pass out, straight from shivering. They went back and forth about VBAC or caesarean being my best option, until a specialist said that due to the infection completely taking over , I now couldn’t be risked labouring and worsen. A caesarean couldn't be done with an epidural because the clotting risk in my back increased with such a rampant infection… General Anaesthetic!!! I was so angry and upset because I'd told them I thought they needed to test for infection rather than wait for a temperature and the whole time this awful thing had been brewing til it was too late for options!

I just cried as they wheeled me in and kept just nodding when asked this and that. I was angry at all of them.

Once the caesarean was over began the journey of Amelia. Born 1315grams and 30cm long we went through the exact same shock and worry all over again because being much smaller than Mikey's 1835grams, we didn't know what could be expected. However, she was only on CPAP for 24hours total and needed 3 treatments of 'Billi' lights and despite my milk refusing to come in properly and her needing Donor milk with level 2 calories... Amelia has shown me that (just like Mikey being born much the same way); strength has no limitations on size. Fight can be the best human quality . . . and regardless of her tiny frame and beginning age, she has SO MUCH to teach us already. She is still in Special Care Nursery after only 4 weeks so far, and as difficult as it is to juggle our family around being a miracle family, we refuse to let this be anything but a growth event because our two premmie babies taught us to be humble and extremely thankful for our lives no matter how difficult it can become.

We're looking forward now to having her home with us and sharing back to them day to day what they taught us.


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