Bailey’s Birth Story ~ Born at 26 weeks gestation

Expecting my 3rd baby with my fiance Aaron, everything was going along well, apart from some awful morning sickness and the tiredness I was enjoying it immensely!

At 14 weeks i began to have some spotting, and after losing a baby years ago at 16 weeks I feared the worst and rushed to our nearest hospital in Ferntree Gully Victoria, expecting to be told I was losing my baby. It felt like deja vu however after having an ultrasound done it was shown that everything was fine and I was sent home. The spotting soon turned to a heavy bleed and I thought for sure I was going to lose him, I went back to the hospital and again was sent home as everything appeared to be normal and the baby was fine. When the bleeding continued we decided that a second opinion was in order so we went to the next closest hospital in Box Hill where they did a detailed scan and found a massive sub-chorionic haematoma (blood clot) in between the placenta and the uterine wall. It was ripping the placenta away and this is what was causing the bleeding. I was admitted and put in a delivery suite, and pretty much told to wait to lose my baby. It never happened. The bleeding continued. And the baby thrived despite this!

I was sent home after a week, and then spent the next 5 weeks in and out of Ferntree Gully hospital due to the bleeding and pain from my uterus contracting as it was being irritated by the bleeding. When at home I was on bed rest which was close to impossible with 5 children in our full time care (we also have Aaron’s 2 sons and daughter as well as my 2 daughters). Eventually when I had such a large bleed I required a blood transfusion so I was admitted to stay until I either lost the baby, or gave birth if we made it far enough.

I was put in the maternity ward with crying babies, this was emotional and stressful but I knew hospital was the best place for me and my baby boy. At 19 weeks when I had the massive bleed, it went un-noticed that my waters had broken and at my 20 week scan he only had a very minimal amount of amniotic fluid in there. It never resealed and he was stuck in what I referred to as the ‘deflated balloon!’ til the day he was born! It was expected that with no fluid to mature his lungs that he would be in major trouble once he was born, and that with restricted space to move his limbs would be stiff and need physio, or even perhaps be deformed. The count down began to get him to a safe time to be born, which is generally 24 weeks, then they would transfer me to a tertiary hospital with a neo natal intensive care unit (NICU) where he would have the best chance of surviving when born.

At 23 weeks and 1 day gestation I had another massive bleed and strong contractions so I was rushed in an ambulance to Monash Medical Centre in Clayton. I was given 2 rounds of steroids to help mature the baby’s lungs and put in a delivery suite to wait. Nothing happened. So I was put in the maternity ward again, where each day felt like a huge victory and with the support of my amazing family and close friends as well as hundreds of friends, and even strangers over Facebook I kept positive. I had always said I KNEW my baby would make it, from day one my faith in him has never wavered. He was conceived 2 days after my dear Grandfather passed away, we always knew he would be a boy and we knew he would fight for life just as my Grandad did for so many years!

Days turned into weeks and at 26 weeks pregnant I felt this overwhelming instinct that he needed to be out here sooner rather then later. The next morning I woke up with what I thought was wind pains, but I was in labour. After 13 hours of a hard and painful labour the baby’s heart rate dropped so low that I had to be rushed in for an emergency cesarean where my teeny little man Bailey Arthur (Arthur after my Grandad) was born weighing a measly 702 grams and 29cm long. The doctors worked on him for a while and then I heard the best thing I had ever heard in my life, he was stable. He was taken to the NICU and I was taken to recovery. I didn’t get to see him until the next morning but when I did I couldn’t control my emotions, the happiness, sadness, confusion, shock, and love I felt were indescribable. His lungs were great, so much better than expected and he was flailing his little limbs around like a mad man. They weren’t stiff or deformed at all. At 2 days old it was discovered that Bailey had a twisted bowel and he was operated on that afternoon. He was a true champion and came through the surgery like nothing happened! They found scar tissue on the bowel which means it happened in utero, they said that if he were in my tummy for much longer it could have been a very bad ending, he could have died.

This was never picked up on the 27 ultrasounds I had in my pregnancy and had nothing to do with the haematoma or the broken waters. It was just a huge set of events which saw him born at the right moment to survive in this world. He is a true miracle. Not just a little one, a HUGE one! What makes it more amazing is the fact that he was born on his Uncle’s Birthday, which was also the due date of a pregnancy I had lost a few months before! This little boy is meant to be here no doubt about that.

He is now 6 weeks old and he has had ups and downs but he fights back through every down and comes out better then before. He is the strongest little man, love, prayers and positive thoughts helped to get him here and they will continue to help him grow. I can not thank my family and friends enough as well as the other mums of prems I have met in this time who have been a massive support but most of all Aaron who has been my rock. It has been a very hard time in our life but we have come out still in tact, stronger than ever with 6 beautiful kids who are loved more than life itself!!

These were the longest weeks of my life and the most stressful. On strict bed rest for 12 weeks I had nothing to do except plan our wedding which is almost complete! Aaron was stuck trying to work full time to pay the bills and juggle 5 kids and a home plus bring them to visit me whenever he could. He did an amazing job and deserves a medal for all of his hard work to keep our family going and get the bills paid.

Life sure is different traveling an hour each way every day to visit Bailey at Monash but I would never change it. He came at the right time and is such a miracle. We can’t wait to bring him home. We are hoping it will be before Christmas. His due date was October 21st (the day before Aaron’s Birthday) but we need to wait until he is big enough to have the surgery to reconnect the stoma he has from the bowel surgery.

His home coming will be a cause for celebration and we plan to throw a massive BBQ for all of our family and friends to say thank you for all of their support. Our journey is far from over. We were warned that having a prem is a roller coaster ride and boy is it ever!! He has too many people from all over the world gunning for him. There is no way he will ever give up and neither will we!! We call him ‘the little critter’ as he was causing trouble from the start and he is proving to be the toughest little critter around and he makes us all so proud every day!

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