This is to say thank you to all the doctors, midwives, nurses and staff at the Mater Mothers’ Brisbane. Particularly to those who are taking care of our daughter every day and night while she is in the NICU & SCN.
Our little family would like to raise as many funds as possible for the NICU and SCN at Mater Mothers’ and also for the Mater Foundation and Little Miracles.
They have made this challenging time just slightly easier. We would like to ensure that they continue to obtain the funds they need to continue to look after other families in need. Like ours.
We were both very happy when we found out I was pregnant with our first baby. We had heard how so many struggled to fall pregnant, but for us it was easy – we weren’t even really trying. We were still in the stage of planning to start trying and it happened – just like that.
I had a healthy “low risk” pregnancy. Everything was normal at every check-up. Routine tests and scans were always fine.
I had my 28-week antenatal appointment on Wednesday the 8th of February 2017. The midwife checked my blood pressures, measured my fundal height, listened to the baby’s heartbeat, and generally checked how it was going. As with every other appointment, me and baby were perfectly healthy – no cause for concern.
Two days later, while at work, I started to get agonising back pain which just would not go away. It started generally on my whole back and then intensified in my upper back. It was a pain I had never experienced before, so much so that I had to lay on the ground for a few minutes.
The pain continued through to my front, just below my breastbone. I was struggling to breathe even though I was sitting down and doing nothing at all. My face was flushed and hot and my hands were starting to shake. I called the hospital who advised I come in for a check-up. I called my husband to come to take me – it probably wasn’t best that I drive.
The pain continued for the twenty-minute drive to the hospital sometimes would be worse than others. When we arrived the midwife checked my blood pressure it was 156/92 – quite high for anyone, very high for me.
I was monitored every couple of hours to see if my blood pressure would decrease on its own. It didn’t and I was given medication. But even that only brought it down slightly. I was admitted to the hospital that day to be continually monitored. They suspected I had pre-eclampsia.
I had my “obs” checked every four hours, still not much of change to my blood pressure overnight. But the doctors decided to give me steroid injections to quicken my baby’s lung development – they suspected my baby may need to be delivered early.
The next day I had a scan to check on the baby’s growth. Due to my condition, the blood flow to the uterus was restricted and she was measuring much smaller than she should have been. However, she was still coping very well so there was no fetal need for early delivery.
Everything stayed the same Saturday through to Sunday morning. The doctor confirmed early-onset mild pre-eclampsia, I would have to take blood pressure medication 3 times a day.
I was to stay in the hospital until the baby had to be delivered. They wanted to try to get me to 30 weeks, and then 32, effectively they wanted to take it two weeks at a time. Providing my body could cope.
In a matter of two hours, my condition worsened. My blood pressure had gone back up to 150/98, and then 160/100 and then 170/110. I started shaking severely and almost had a seizure.
I was rushed down to birth suite and was being prepared for an emergency C-section as soon as possible. My body could no longer cope with the pregnancy and my health was quickly deteriorating. Although I never asked before the delivery, I found out after the fact the doctors and nurses were concerned I might have a heart attack, stroke or suffer organ damage – my kidneys and liver were already being affected.
Luckily, they were able to get an IV in and start me on Magnesium Sulphate. This was needed for myself and for my baby but I needed to make it 24 hours for the full effect. Thankfully my body lasted the night, although I am doubtful it would have made another day as I had a few shaking episodes throughout the night.
I had my emergency C-section the next morning, and Charlotte was born 10:28 am on 13 February 2017. She was small but she was healthy.
I am now at home and she is still in the Neonatal Critical Care Unit shortly to be transferred to the Special Care Nursery.
My final diagnosis – early onset severe pre-eclampsia.
Although the last 4 days of my pregnancy, and the first few weeks of Charlotte’s life, were not what me or my husband had envisioned all the staff at Mater Mothers’ have been wonderful. They have made this challenging time just a little bit easier.
The first few nights away from Charlotte were tough, they still are, but I don’t worry about her like I used to. I know she is in the best possible care. I know the nurses and doctors looking after her show her all the love and comfort she needs when I can’t be there.