Lily, Ruby, Maddie and their mum Lucinda
Where was Lily born?
Lily was born at the John Hunter Hospital, Newcastle. I was transferred there from North Gosford Private once they realized there were complications. We also spent a week in the Childrens Hospital at Westmead while she underwent cardiac surgery for a Patent Ductus Arteriosus.
What was her gestation and birthweight?
30 weeks and 1300 grams
Do you know why she was born premmie?
Lily had major complications in utero, in addition to the fact that I have an irritable uterus and my placenta started to fail, resulting in IUGR.
How long was Lily in hospital?
NICU for 1.5 months, SCN for 1.5 months. 3 months less one day all up. She came home weighing 2kg.
Other interesting stats?
CPAP for 24 days (due to PDA we just couldn’t get her off it!) then low flow oxygen for 6 months. She finally came off it on the 1st of March 2007.
What do you remember most about your NICU journey?
Now I mostly remember how fantastic the hospital staff were to me and my family and continue to be today. At the time it was so unbelievably hard you wouldn’t wish it on your worst enemy but the bad memories have faded with time and now we are just thankful that the wonderful doctors didn’t ever give up on our precious baby.
What has been your proudest moment since Lily came home?
Probably when she started walking. She has only just started in the last two weeks and we were told that she wouldn’t walk for a very long time. She continues to prove us all wrong with her strength and determination!
How did it feel to be pregnant again with a high risk of premature birth?
Terrifying! I really wanted to have the “normal” experience I had missed out on the first time around. But then as each day passed I began to prepare myself for another NICU or SCN journey.
At what gestation and weight were your twins born?
35 weeks, 1800 grams and 2400 grams
Any idea why they were born prem?
Maddie (the bigger twin) was hogging all the nutrients so Ruby developed IUGR. The doctors were concerned about how healthy she would be if she remained in utero so they booked me in for an emergency c-section. The day I went in to have them I ended up in labour! Both were born via c-section that day which was lucky as Ruby was badly tangled in her cord.
How did it feel to be back in the Special Care Nursery with your twins?
It was hard too, obviously not as hard as when Lily was born but I had to have my twins at a different hospital than the one I had had Lily at and having to learn the different processes really got to me. I guess in a way I felt I knew how to do it all so didn’t need someone making me do it a different way. The nurses were used to parents that were unsure of their tiny babies whereas my husband and I were confident and experienced with little our babies.
Also the hospital didn’t make any exceptions for the fact that my babies were in SCN. I was put in a ward with 5 other women and their babies and listened to their babies cry all night while mine were a 1km walk away (which I couldn’t do as I had had a bad c section). Because I didn’t have a screaming baby with me I was left to my own devices a lot, which also meant I could wait up to an hour to have a nurse just answer my call button.
One of the biggest challenges was having Lily as well. I lived at the hospital for 2 weeks until I could bring the twins home (weighing 1900 grams and 2500 grams) but I felt guilty as Lily wasn’t coping very well at home without me so there was that challenge too.
What is your top tip for other mothers of premmie babies?
I guess I could say try and “normalise” things as much as possible. So cuddle your baby/s as soon as you can and feed them, and bathe them and just love them, even if they feel tiny and fragile and you are scared to touch them in case you hurt them. They need to know you are there for them from the very beginning.