My name is Sonya and I am only 23 years old, I had my son when I was 22, he is now 10 months old (may 2008). It all started on Friday 6th July 2007 I went to see my local GP in Adelaide (where I was living at the time) because I had had a headache since that Wednesday. He took some blood tests and said to come back the following Tuesday (well that never happened) for the results. On Saturday I still didn’t feel well and asked my Mum if I could come home (Naracoorte, SA) for the weekend. My Mum’s fiance is an ambulance officer and just happened to be on duty when I got there, he went out to the truck and got the blood pressure cuff. He didn’t like what he got, I can’t remember what it was exactly but it was too high. He was going to monitor it for the weekend and if by Monday it hadn’t come back down I’d have to admit myself into hospital.
Sunday we (my Mum, my sister, mum’s fiance and myself) went to Millicent (SA) to see my aunty and uncle and cousins, I was very quiet all day and kept up the panadol, as much as I was allowed. That night when we got back home I didn’t sleep well. I woke Mum and her fiance up once because i felt sick and was crying. In the morning mum went off to work and her fiance was at home (he had a few days off to install some rainwater tanks), my sister was still there too (she’d come down from Adelaide aswell), I walked out of the bedroom and she told me to sit at the table and wait until she’d told our stepdad. I had gained a lot of fluid everywhere, I could barely move my fingers they were just that puffy and tight, my face had blown up too, it was everywhere. My step dad had called the one of the best doctors in Naracoorte and he cleared an appointment time to see me, mum came home from work and my sister, mum and i went to the doctors. Jeff Taylor (the doctor) took one look at me, took my blood pressure and sent me to the hospital, he said he was going to meet us there. We got to the hospital and went up to the Nurses station, we went into a room and I sat on the edge of the bed, the nurse went off to get the bigger blood pressure cuff and as she walked out the room I asked her if the wall was meant to be getting blurry. That is the last thing I remember before waking up 3 days later in Flinders Hospital (Adelaide) ICCU (Intensive and Critical Care Unit).
***The bits I was unconscious for***
Jeff Taylor and the on duty doctor at the hospital (David Harmes) both rushed upstairs to our rescue. They put me into an induced coma and got me stablised on life support. They soon realised that they didn’t have the facilities to deliver and support my son so they called Flinders Mecial Centre and asked them to send the RFDS (Royal Flying Doctors Service), but Flinders said that they wouldn’t send them down to a dead patient (a dead patient in this case meaning a very unlikely good outcome). After 3 hours of convincing them they finally agreed to send them down. That night I was flown and then helicoptered (apparently) to Flinders. I had an emergency ceasarean and my son was brought into this world at 6:53pm. I was rushed to the ICCU where i spent 5 days, on day 3 I was brought out of my coma but was still in and out of it the next couple of days. My son weighed in at 1090grams and 34.5cms long. He was taken to the Neonatal Unit where he was destined to spend the next 3 months. For the first 24 hours Matthew had to be intubated and it was touch and go for the first few days. My family had come up from Naracoorte to be with me but for legality reasons they weren’t allowed to see Matthew without my permission (a bit hard when i’m in a coma). After 18 hours they were allowed to see him for the first time. After being intubated for 24 hours the removed the tube and were using CPAP.
Matthew was born with no deformities, no illnesses, nothing. He was perfectly healthy, the only issue he had was he needed help with his breathing.
I was wheeled around to the Neonatal Unit in my bed while i was in ICCU and was able to see my son for the frist time on the 4th day. He was tiny, so fragile, I wasn’t able to hold him or touch him. After that I was moved to other parts of the maternity and then postnatal wards before going home 10 days after my son was born. Matthew remained in hospital for a total of 92 days, in this time he had CPAP, Intranasal, Infranasal, various different drugs, a blood transfusion and monitored very closely. for the first month he was in level 3 (the critical level); in here it was touch and go. The second month he moved into level 2 and was able to have his first real bath; he was off monitors and decided to stop breathing for no reason (SIDS) but luckily the nurses watch over in case these things happen. In the third month he was moved into level 1, we were finally getting ready to go home.
We were supposed to room in for 2 nights before leaving the hospital for good, but everything went so smoothly we only stayed 1 night. Since then, we have moved to Naracoorte to be near my mum and the wonderful doctors that saved our lives. Matthew has passed all his checkups with flying colours, he is growing well, eats like a horse and is as healthy as one can hope for. I have no ongoing health issues although if I am to get pregnant again I will be watched very closely.
To Jeff, David, the doctors and nurses at Flinders that cared for either of us, a very big thank you. You are all wonderful people and do a great job. If it wasn’t for all of you neither of us would be here today.