A lot of things took place well before I fell pregnant with Isaac. For starters my husband and I had to decide whether it was something we really wanted to consider, as it was going to mean another complicated pregnancy due to HELLP Syndrome and another premature baby.

Once we made the decision that ‘yes’ we wanted to give it a go, I went off to see my Obstetrician to discuss this with him. After a lengthy discussion we concluded that we would get some more information and so from there I was sent to see a Haematology specialist. We wanted to find out if there was anything that could be causing my problems & then hence what could we do to fix them. It was concluded that there was nothing major wrong, just a few minor abnormalities that on their own were not an issue, but became one during pregnancy.

Armed with all this information both doctors felt that by taking Aspirin tablets, like I did with Thomas, as well as daily clexane injections I would hopefully be able to reduce the risk of developing HELLP Syndrome again. I spent many weeks going backwards & forwards in my mind as to what to do, along with discussions with my husband, it was ultimately left the in my hands to decide.

To try to explain my decision to others just didn’t work, the multitude of questions, “Why would you risk yourself again” and the list went on. To those who had never had a prem they could just not understand and for those that had I am eternally grateful for their support. I had always wanted at least 3 children, however unfortunately having full term babies’ was just not for me.

I discovered I was pregnant with Isaac on the day of my 30th birthday – how exciting!! Unfortunately this excitement soon turned to apprehension when I quickly remembered that I had been involved in a car accident 4 days earlier. While I sustained no injuries I was scared that the jolt may have caused problems & I could potentially miscarry. Thankfully everything turned out ok.

Again at about 20 weeks I started developing the severe abdominal pain, headaches & nausea and it was also again clear that I had developed the HELLP Syndrome. At about 23 weeks my liver enzymes started to elevate, which was earlier than it had with my last pregnancy. I was on regular blood tests & visits with my doctor, who at this stage was not too concerned with the rate that the liver enzymes were elevating.

On the Thursday of my 28th week, I began to feel very sick & started vomiting that night. At first I thought it may have been a result of having fasted for the glucose tolerance test I had done that day. When the vomiting continued for another 24hours, I thought perhaps I just had a tummy bug. After 2 days of vomiting I decided to ring the emergency department who advised me to come in to see them. When I arrived at the hospital I was checked out by a Triage nurse, who admitted me to hospital straight away as my blood pressure was high. Blood tests also showed that my liver function abnormalities had begun to increase rapidly. I underwent a barrage of tests and was finally taken to the Antenatal Ward as a high risk patient for constant monitoring several hours later. I was severely dehydrated & put on IV fluids but still could not stop vomiting. I started feeling better after about 2 days. Even though the vomiting had ceased & I was feeling better my liver function was starting to rapidly deteriorate even more. On Sunday my doctor started having discussions regarding delivery & I was given the first of a steroid injection designed to mature Isaac’s lungs.

At 29 weeks + 2 days my doctor advised me that he was going to be giving me an emergency c-section as my liver function was just too dangerously high. At 1:01pm Isaac John was delivered weighing 1250gms (2lb 7oz) & was taken straight to the NICU.

Isaac had a 12hr in & out intubation on his first day and then spent the next 15 days on CPAP, he went on and off a few times before finally being able to come off for good. He also required phototherapy for his jaundice for a few days. Ultrasound results showed that he had a PDA duct on his heart & he was started on medication which thankfully resolved this.

We spent a couple of weeks being put on & taken off feeds as he was not tolerating them so well, thankfully he turned a corner & was up to full feeds in no time.

I remember visiting one day & thinking that he looked really good & was starting to look chubby all of a sudden, plus he had had a fantastic weight gain. The next day he looked even bigger & I thought to myself that he didn’t look right. I was later informed by one of the doctors that Isaac’s sodium levels were dangerously low & that he was swelling up with fluid. They started him on medication to return his sodium levels back to normal. After about a week my very chubby little boy went back to looking like he did the week before.

We finally graduated to Level 2 where we were to grow and get bigger, as well as beginning the ever so long task of learning to feed. We struggled to breastfeed well and while he wanted to do it, Isaac just could not seem to manage the whole suck, swallow & breathe co-ordination required. In addition to this he tired very quickly trying to breastfeed and suffered from silent reflux. We then turned our focus on to getting Isaac good at drinking bottles so that he could come home.

Isaac had surgery to repair bilateral inguinal hernias at 37wks which he recovered from very well.

The week we were arranging to have Isaac discharged we were hit with the news that he had grade 2-3 ROP (Retinopathy of Prematurity) and would perhaps need to be transferred to Westmead to undergo laser eye surgery. It was a roller coaster of emotions for a couple of days with the uncertainty of what was happening. A couple of days later, it was decided to allow Isaac to go home & just monitor his eyes each week.

After 10 ½ weeks in hospital, we were finally allowed to take our beautiful son home – 2 days before his due date!

For the next 2 months we had to go back & forth to the hospital to have Isaac’s eyes tested, which thankfully began to resolve themselves.

Isaac is still not a great feeder & is on medication for his reflux, but he is on his way to being a strong, healthy little boy.

The nurses and doctors are absolute miracle workers and without them I would not have any of my boys. My husband and I are eternally grateful for the marvellous work that the hospital & their staff perform each & every day.

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