This is Jodie’s story. Throughout Jodie’s words there are some terms that you may not be familiar with, we have provided further information regarding these points in the Notes at the bottom of the post. These points are general in nature and not necessarily specific to Jodie’s story.
When my husband and I found out we were pregnant, it was a great feeling! At my first ultrasound, 11weeks 5days, besides showing a healthy baby, it showed that I had a “shortened cervix” (2.4cm). On the upside, we got to have fortnightly scans, and watch our little “auggie” grow.
At our 3rd scan, 15w5d, it showed that my cervix had shrunk to a “dangerously” short length (1.8cm). I was told to go back to my obstetrician. She referred me straight to her colleague, who deals with high-risk pregnancies. He took one look at me, and said yep, I’ll see you back here tomorrow morning, and I’ll place an emergency cerclage (cervical stitch) in, which should help. He told us that I would probably still deliver early – 32weeks, but at least this will help.
At this stage of the pregnancy, I had to stop work, and start on bed rest, easier said than done!
At 17 weeks, I woke up with massive pains in my belly, and after discovering that it was “just my fibroids”* I was ordered straight to St Vincent’s Private Hospital for pain relief.
I was discharged at 18 weeks 5 days, and headed straight to my weekly ultrasound. I made it home, only to be called again to come back in, as my cervix had shortened, and I was getting small contractions – also known as an irritable uterus.
I went back, said hello to my midwives, and settled back in. I was also diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Yay!
I stayed in till 19 weeks 3days, and I was allowed home! I was home for two nights, before I had my weekly ultrasound, only to be once again told that I was heading back in to St Vincent’s, as my cervix was not stable.
At my 23 week ultrasound, I was told that my waters were bulging, so when I came back, I was placed in the trundle position, and now only allowed up to use the bathroom, and shower every 2nd or 3rd day.
At 24 weeks, I was told that I was already dilated (0.3cm) and that my membranes were coming down. My transport was arranged to take me to a tertiary hospital, but there was a line of friendly faces saying good bye and wishing me luck as I was wheeled out. I said to one nurse, its ok, I’ll be back at 32weeks to deliver. She smiled.
I was transferred to Mercy, and 3 days later, my beautiful baby boy, Max was born – weighing 821gm, 33cms long and a head circumference of 23.5cm.
Max was soon transferred to the Royal Children’s Hospital, on day five we went in and were told that his belly was distended and that there was a small hole in his belly. Max needed to be transferred but he wasn’t stable enough. The surgeons came across and placed the tip of a surgical glove to act as a drain, he was transferred and operated on that night. Max was diagnosed with NEC* and 5cm of his bowel was removed. After this Max was doing well and we were able to get cuddles of him at one month old, he now weighed 1 kg.
The doctors tried CPAP* with Max and he managed 12 hours. A few days later they tried again and he only lasted 4hours. Then he caught an infection, and was sick again. There were many ups and downs for the next month and then one day, Max woke up and was ok. The doctors tried with the CPAP again and this time he Max gave up. After several days he was breathing on his own, and we were transferred to Special Care Nursery. When he was 19 weeks, the stoma* was finally reversed and Max was ready to come home.
After 4 months at Royal Children’s Hospital we were able to bring our happy healthy baby boy home, 18days AFTER his due date, weighing 2.21kg.
Max has just celebrated his 2nd birthday, and is now 10.2kg and 80cms long.
He has been walking since he was 20months and is talking too!
He is the reason that we all celebrate “Wear Green for Premmies Day”.
Cerclage: A cerclage is a cervical stitch – often placed due to degenerating fibroids.
Degenerating Fibroids: A complication of fibroids in pregnancy, they cause extreme pain and possible developmental problems in the fetus, leading to possible premature delivery.
NEC: Necrotizing Enterocolitis – a complication of prematurity in the bowel. This occurs when a part of the bowel no longer works due to infection. If the condition does not respond to conservative methods of treatment (i.e. triple antibiotics) then part of the bowel is removed and later joined back together.
CPAP: Continuous Positive Airway Pressure – a method by which the baby is rested and then does not have to work so hard to breath themselves. If CPAP doesn’t work they usually then intubate and ventilate so the baby doesn’t wear itself out, instead, the ventilator breaths for them.
Stoma: A stoma is the open wound left where they would have entered to do the surgery for NEC. Once the doctors are sure that the gut is working they will close the stoma up.