My son was born my emergency C-section at RPA Hospital on the 14th December, 2016. He was 29 weeks and weighed a mere 1070 grams.
I was admitted a week earlier due to pre-eclampsia. My blood pressure sky rocketed and the decision was made to deliver my baby boy.
I will never forget hearing him cry for the first time. I looked at my husband and we were both overwhelmed with excitement.
I was not allowed to hold or touch my precious boy, I only got a quick 2 second look and then he was whisked away down to the NICU with my husband.
Nothing could have prepared us for the long journey we had ahead.
I didn’t get to see my son until 2 days later. I was still recovering from surgery and the drugs they gave me made me very sick. My husband wheeled me down to the NICU, I washed my arms and hands, it’s something I would need to do every time I visited and it’s a smell that still makes me teary, and then I saw my son.
He was in an isolette (incubator) with C-PAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) on his face as he had breathing difficulties, sensor monitors on his torso and one on his foot. He was the tiniest most beautiful thing I had ever seen.
He was surrounded by monitors, the beeping of the machines I will never forget.
The overwhelming happiness mixed with sadness overcame me and I asked my husband to take me back to my room. I cried uncontrollable tears of joy and heartache that I couldn’t take my baby boy home. I blamed myself a lot because had I not had high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia, my son would not have been born early.
I have always loved Christmas ever since I was a little girl but this one was different. We had our first family Christmas in the NICU. The nurses were sooo sweet and dressed him in a Christmas gown and booties. He looked just adorable. I was happy my son had made it to Christmas but I didn’t show any sadness when I held him but secretly, the guilt was still there.
The next two months were very difficult for my husband and I. He returned back to work and I continued with my daily visits. We would go and visit together at night when it was dads turn for cuddles. Leaving my son in hospital every night and going home without him was the hardest thing.
My husband and I did lots of Kangaroo cuddles and were very involved with his care.
We would have turns at pushing his feed through his nasal gastric tube and talking to him.
I even made up a song especially for him. I sang this song to him every night while I cuddled his tiny fragile body.
I held his little hand and whispered in his ear “everything will be alright my darling, mum and dad love you very much, and this was just a small step before you come home”.
During routine rounds, his doctor told us my son had an Inaugural hernia and would need surgery. I thought, “You have to be bloody kidding me!” But I was assured it was routine. We were transferred to Westmead Children’s Hospital NICU.
My anxiety went up and the unbelievable worry for my son.
Will he be ok? What if something happens and I am not in there?
His surgery was done the next day and I asked the theatre nurse to hold his hand for me. She assured me she would. My son came through like a champion. Everything went well and he was breastfeeding 1 hour after his surgery. We were discharged back to RPA NICU the next day.
Two days later, he was discharged from RPA hospital, I was so excited, nervous, scared but happy.
My lil man was coming home!! I wheeled him very quickly out of the hospital to my car before they could change their mind. No words can describe the admiration we have for all of the NICU nurses, doctors, specialists that looked after my son. They are the true heroes. We are indebted to them.
We under estimate how strong our babies are. The constant fight for survival our prems go through every day is incredible and inspiring. I was raised to be a very strong person but seeing my son fight every second of the day brought me to my knees. I have a love for my son like no other and I will protect him until the last day I leave this earth.
My name is Mel and I am a proud NICU mum.
If you have a preemie baby and need support you can reach out to:
Mama to: Felix
Career, hobbies, interests and obsessions: I work in finance and love eating, wine, chocolate and spending time with family and friends.
Describe being a mama in five words: challenging, rewarding, scary, love, happy.