Brayden’s Birth Story – Born at 31 weeks

I had just been employed by a well known company as a Function Coordinator in an excellent location in Glenelg, with a great boss. The kind of job you enjoyed getting up every morning for and driving the long 45 minutes to work. I had just celebrated my first anniversary with my husband and things couldn’t be more perfect.

I had had a few troubles with trying to stay pregnant. I have had a few miscarriages. 2 of them with my husband Brad. We had been trying to get pregnant for about 6 months after I had lost a bit of weight, as we thought this may be the main factor of me not being able to hold onto my baby. In May 2007, I woke up thinking that my period was very late. My husband knew I had a pregnancy kit in the bathroom, so we thought what the hell let’s just see. All Brad could hear was me screaming from the bathroom. We were so excited. I was then trying to think of an excuse not to go to work so I could go to my GP to double check that the pregnancy kit was right. It was confirmed that afternoon. An appointment was made with a midwife for the following week at the Lyell McEwin Hospital, as my GP new that we had previous problems with other pregnancies. We had an ultrasound, and we were told we were 9 weeks pregnant and our baby would be due on the 21st December. premature baby, NICU, pre-term, premmie, premature birth

This was the first pregnancy that I didn’t experience bad morning sickness. I got nausea, but I found the vegemite sandwich in the morning did the trick before going to work and the girls at work had a hot chocolate waiting for me in my office. I told one of the staff members of my pregnancy and what she thought about me telling my boss, as I had only been employed for less than 3 months and wanted to stay with the company for as long as I could. After the chat I decided to tell my boss Shelagh, and she was fantastic about it. I couldn’t have received a better reaction. Anything I needed she said she would help as she knew the previous problems that I had experienced.

My husband and I had organised a holiday to the Gold Coast before we got pregnant, in June. We were looking forward to the amusement parks, but being pregnant we decided it would be best just to walk around. At the end of the trip, we decided it would be best if I stopped work, as the stress I was putting myself under wasn’t worth endangering my unborn child and my employer’s deserved someone who could put in a 100%. It was a hard decision to make, and my employer wasn’t too happy, and for that I’ll always be sorry.

I got through my 3 months easily, I was happy to have some energy back when I was 15 weeks along, My husband and I organised to have Fetal Foto’s done of our baby. It was the most amazing thing we had ever seen. We were asked if we wanted to know the sex of our baby, and we were told we were having a son. I will never forget the smile on my husband’s face.

Roughly around 22 weeks, I experienced some bleeding. My husband rushed me down the hospital, then the tests began. We were told that the placenta was only 2cm away from my cervix, and then I was diagnosed with Placenta Previa. We were told that if the placenta hadn’t moved by 32 weeks, we would have to have a caesarean, because if we tried to have a normal labour the baby wouldn’t be able to pass through the cervix due to the placenta covering it. The doctor said usually by the 32nd week the placenta usually moves. They booked me in for an ultrasound when i was 32 weeks along to see if this has happened. premature babies, premature community, forum, babies, premature support, birth, preterm babies, parenting, premature birth

Over the next few weeks I was in the labour ward at least twice a week due to the bleeding and me not feeling the baby move. I was feeling like a nuisance all the time, but the midwifes assured me that if something was wrong come straight in, it was better knowing that my boy was safe, then being at home stressing all the time.

I started feeling pressure in my lower back and what felt like the worse period pain I have ever had. Once again, we were down the hospital getting checking out that Friday night. The doctor wanted to perform an internal to check if my water had broken, I wasn’t to eager to have this done, as I had previously heard that an internal that late into the pregnancy could cause premature labour. My doctor assured me that all would be fine. My husband held my hand throughout the whole thing as I was crying and couldn’t comprehend what was happening. The doctor said all was fine, and the pain I had been experiencing was caused by severe gastro. They wanted me to stay in overnight just to be on the safe side, but me being stubborn, I wanted to go home and relax in my own bed. That night I told my husband that I knew that our son was on his way early.

That Sunday morning as I was feeling better my husband and I decided to go for a drive, to get me out of the house. When we arrived home, I stepped out of the car and a gush of water came from me. Me thinking, how embarrassing I just wet myself. I just laughed it off.

That night, I experienced the worse pain I could never describe. I lay in bed, dealing with the pain. At 4am the following morning I rang the hospital and they told me to head straight in. On arrival my baby was checked for a heartbeat. We couldn’t find one as I couldn’t keep still due to the pain I was in. The doctor then decided to put an electrode on the baby’s head, we were then told that my water had broken and my son was on his way.

The Lyell McEwin Hospital, couldn’t facilitate babies before 32 weeks and that I needed to be transferred to the Women’s and Children’s Hospital in the city. I was injected with steroids to help the babies lungs develop as much as they could before he arrived. I was also given pethadeine along with Moxalone. The nurse not realising that I was allergic to this, I had an immediate reaction and started to have a seizure on the table, and all I remember was my sister holding my body down.

The nurse kept asking me if I felt like I was in labour, and all I could think was how do I know, I’ve never done this before, and all I felt like doing was a big poo. The nurse then confirmed, he was on his way. The ambulance was on its way to get me and the hospital was also preparing for an emergency caesarean. I was hanging over the head of the bed, all I could see was my husband’s hand under my head and my mum’s pants and shoes. The nurse ran out of the room, and I will never forget her yelling he’s coming I need help. I kept remembering what my sister Dayna said to me, By this time tomorrow, it will all be over. That’s what got me through the pain. Next my husband yelled at me to flip onto my stomach. The rest was a blur. All I was told after was the doctor just caught him on the bluey as he came flying out. He was born at 7:41am, Monday the 22nd of October. premature babies, premature community, forum, babies, premature support, birth, preterm babies, parenting, premature birth

He started crying straight away, and my sister yelling out it’s a girl, me thinking, what? She then laughed. They brought my son over to me, and I wasn’t in a state to hold him, I said I didn’t want him. I will always regret not holding him, as it was going to be a long time before I got to hold him in my arms. He was then taken away to the Special Care Nursery. I was wheeled into the Special Care Nursery a short time later. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, so many tubes coming from this small body. He was 42.5cm long, weighed 1680grams and a head circumference of 26cm.

Two doctors from NICU at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital drove down to see Brayden and to access him and then to organise his transportation to the Women’s and Children’s Hospital. Due to him being 9 weeks premature, they decided to put Brayden into an induced coma and to put him on CPAP so he wouldn’t use all of his energy to breathe. He was then placed into an incubator and transported to the NICU at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital. We were given the choice to either stay at the Lyell McEwin Hospital for the night or they would try and find me a bed at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital. We decided that we would like to be as close to our son as possible and we were discharged at 3pm and made our way to be with our son. Due to Braydens condition we were unable to travel with him as there were 3 doctors on board the ambulance.

Being in the maternity ward was very difficult, hearing all the other babies crying, and seeing some of the mothers walking around holding their babies were hard to handle. The nurses were fantastic on keeping us informed of Brayden’s condition and we were told we could visit Brayden any time we wanted. My family visited us that night, they were a great support.

The first glimpse of the NICU was torture. I just broke down crying instantly. So many small babies hooked up to monitors, wires everywhere, doctors and nurses covering every baby. We knew Brayden couldn’t be in a better place. Each baby in NICU had a nurse looking over them 24/7, Brayden was never left alone. The doctor explained to us what condition Brayden was in and what the monitors he was hooked up to were used for. So when the alarms went off, we knew what the problem was. It was hard to look at him, releasing that this tiny baby came from me, the day was so surreal. I didn’t sleep at all that night. At 1am I went down to see Brayden on my own, to try and come to terms with what had happened that day. I touched his hand, he squeezed my finger, I had a moment with him, I felt like a mother. The following morning I was discharged from the hospital. premature babies, premature community, forum, babies, premature support, birth, preterm babies, parenting, premature birth

Brayden spent the first 4 days in the NICU, he dropped weight like most babies do. They expect a 10% weight drop, Brayden dropped 12% which they were concerned about. He was on and off CPAP for about 3 days as they tried to settle his breathing. Brayden kept taking shallow breaths which sent the alarms off often. He caught a small infection within the first 4 days as well as have slight Jaundice, but recovered quickly. It was 6 days before I could hold him. We was moved to SCBU for a further 4 days, once he was beginning to gain weight and taking regular feeds through his gastric tube, the hospital organised for him to be transported back to the Lyell McEwin Hospital and closer to home.

The staff at the Lyell McEwin Hospital were excited to have Brayden back, as they rarely have babies so small in the Special Care Nursery. The nursery staff were fantastic and so supportive. They informed us constantly on his progress. Every morning without fail I was there at 9am when the doctors did their rounds, it helped hearing from them how he was going and any questions I had, the usual one was how long till he can come home soon was always the reply. Brayden had a few problems with holding his feed down and would often spill. Watching Brayden spill constantly was hard to deal with, it seemed to take us a day back each time from him coming home. Brayden’s doctor said he was a fighter and that he was improving every day.

I watched babies come and go from the nursery, and then the day for us finally came when Brayden was 5 weeks old and weighing 2.3kg. I kept thinking that he wasn’t ready to come home yet, but he was. It was me that was want ready, I was frightened that something might happen, the nursery staff helped me prepare for his release. One world for them, ˜amazing’. premature baby, premmie, news, birth, babies, parenting

Brayden is now 5 months old, 6.9kg and is 63cm long. It surprises me how far we have come. I am experiencing postnatal depression, which I am trying to come to terms with and I have been receiving help for. I am told something as traumatic as this can cause depression. I am so thankful for my family for being so supportive, especially my husband, he is my rock. You couldn’t ask for a better father then him. My sister is close by and always there if I need her. I hope that I can become a natural mother as she is.

And as for Brayden, he is a treasure, the smiles, the giggles and the miracle that he is, I couldn’t put into words how much he means to me.

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