Matilda's Story

[image]Matilda 2.jpg

At 28 weeks I was at work when my waters broke although I didn't know that that's what was happening, I was so close to just writing it off however my instincts told me to phone the hospital, from here they told me to come in, I didn't think much of it. I knew babies could be born early but having a premature baby myself never crossed my mind. Once confirmed my waters had broke I was admitted to hospital where I stayed for a week, I was given steroids for my babies lung development and antibiotics to stop any infection. As the days went on I slowly realised if my baby came now that I wouldn't be having a normal birth and newborn experience, however I didn't quite know the extent which I'm glad I didn't. The day after my antibiotics stopped I started getting really bad back pain with no relief from pain killers and an awful feeling in my gut. I told my husband to keep his phone loud when he went home as I had a feeling. Right before my husband was about to leave I had a fever and was taken to birth suite for more tests, after a few hours of painful tests and not getting any better it was decided it would be safer to deliver. As baby was breach it would be an emergency caesarean. I had never been more scared in my life.

On Father's Day 2018 just past midnight out came our Matilda holding onto the forceps with a strong grip for such a tiny hand, we had never been more relieved than to hear a cry in our lives. Matilda came at 29 weeks and was 1413g. She was then held up so I could see her and taken to NICU. I was lucky enough to be wheeled down to the NICU after my surgery, I can't explain the feeling of looking at my baby in the isolette not knowing if she will still be ok when I woke up.

Matilda was put into CPAP first however needed to be ventilated shortly after, luckily only needing this breathing support for another 24 hours, then back to CPAP for a month.

At first being discharged from hospital was my worst fear as I felt like the worst mother leaving my baby in the hospital. In reality, going home was the best thing for myself. We saw it as a journey for both myself and Matilda. As I recovered, she recovered too with care and support from the professionals she most needed while I pumped milk like crazy. I also wrote a daily scrap book journal for Matilda with information on her progress, who visited her and photos/momentos from that day. I found this really helped me to process everything while also being a sweet gift I could one day give to Matilda.

Matilda was trialled off CPAP 3 times over the month and came off the 3rd time. On my birthday, exactly a month after she was born she was transferred to special care, Matilda lasted a week before needing further breathing support, she went straight onto low flow and she seemed to manage well with the extra oxygen. Being in special care was a dream come true, however it had its hard times, other babies in our room were in and out so quickly with us staying put for another 6 weeks. Time was dragging at this point and everyday coming into the hospital I felt as if I needed to prepare myself for if something bad were to happen as you never knew what was around the corner.

Matilda was trialled off oxygen too many times that I can count and each time she wasn't able to last. Reality sunk in that we would need home oxygen, something that we didn't even think of. However at 39 weeks Matilda proved everyone wrong and showed she no longer needed any oxygen. 4 days later we were sent home to start the newborn journey.

The NICU is a place I never knew existed and it has changed my life forever. I can safely say that premmie and sick babies are the strongest fighters on this earth.

Although this has been an incredibly difficult journey for us (and we are one of the lucky ones) I wouldn't change it as I have a beautiful daughter who I am so thankful is here with us and a new outlook on life.

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