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The first time I got to hold my son was when he was 6 weeks old

At 24 weeks, Hannah knew something was wrong with her baby but she didn’t expect to be told that he may be born at any second.

This is Hannah’s story:

My pregnancy was going perfect with no complications. At around 23.5 weeks I had a lot of mucus and water discharge slowly throughout the day. I called my hospital and told them what happened, and they told me it was just hormones and not to come in. The mucus and water didn’t stop and I kept calling day after day. The hospital reassured me that there was nothing to worry about and that I shouldn’t come in unless I see blood. At 24 weeks and 3 days, I went into hospital where they checked me with a fetal monitor and was told the baby was doing well and I could go home. I refused to go and asked for a specs check. As soon as the doctor checked, he said I was 5cm dilated and there was a hole in the amniotic sac. 

“Your baby is coming out any second!”

I was given a shot of steriods and off I was sent in the ambulance to the Royal Women’s Hospital. I stayed 3 days in the delivery ward where I was on bed rest. I went into labour in the morning and gave birth via c-section to my son, Mehdi, at 25 weeks, weighing 650grams. 

Mehdi was incredibly active and extubated his self about 7 times, in the first 2 months. He failed every attempt at NAVA during that time where he was re-intubated. Every time I saw him, his alarm was always red, always desaturating, never stable. We nearly lost him many times. He was on caffeine, morphine and steroids. It was hard to wean him off – we hardly ever got a good day for him.

One lovely nurse decided to try him on CPAP instead of NAVA and it worked. He was on the higher end of it, but he handled it well for 9 days until he caught CMV. He was intubated again and went to hell and back with CMV. He was extremely ill and we were so worried. I remember getting calls from the doctors in the middle of the night many times. But after 2 weeks of battling CMV, they extubated him and he went on CPAP again. During this time, he had serval blood infusions and medications. He was getting a different dose of steroid because of his desats. He was on 7 litres and on 30% oxygen. But Mehdi wasn’t progressing at all. He turned full term and the doctors gave him 2 days until they would transfer him to the Children’s Hospital. A miracle nurse had him that weekend and she argued with the doctors to just try him on high flow (even though he was on 7 litres CPAP). She stayed by his side always and he turned a corner!

Turning a corner

They decided to keep him in the NICU, all thanks to his wonderful nurse who didn’t give up on him. She gave him a bottle and he took it like a champ! Everyone in the NICU was so shocked. He was still getting the nebuliser during this time for his chronic lungs. After 3.5 months in level 3, he finally moved to level 2 (a step closer to home). Three weeks in and he finally was approved to fix his massive hernia. Once it was fixed, my beautiful son was a new man! No more desats, room air oxygen – a normal baby! I couldn’t believe my eyes how life changing this surgery was. 

Then, two days after his hernia surgery, I got a call from the doctors saying he needed emergency surgery for ROP. I rushed to the hospital where he was re-intubated for laser eye surgery. It took 2 hours in theatre, and the next day he was so worn out. They extubated him 20 hours later and he was able to have a feed. 

Never give up

Things started to look promising until a week went by, and they told me his eye surgery failed and that he’d have to have more surgeries. They injected his eyes a week after his surgery to prepare him for his next. He’s had 13 intubations, 9 blood transfusion, several cannulas and still counting. We are still in the NICU on high flow nearly 5 months in. On 5 litres, room air, weighing 3kg and awaiting his next eye surgery. It’s literally been such a roller coaster. I cried nearly every day for the first 3 months and still do today. The first time I got to hold my son was when he was 6 weeks, I just want my baby boy home, healthy and happy! I pray that every baby doesn’t have a hard time in hospital and that miracles do happen. Never give up, they are stronger than what you think!

Share your story

Have you found comfort in reading other parents’ stories? We get lots of grateful feedback on how reading these personal stories help new parents to cope with their own experience. Every family has a unique and important story to share. Share your journey and celebrate your story below.

Karen Peters


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