Wear Green For Prems
Today (15th of April) is ‘ Wear green for Prems ’ day so I thought it would be a great opportunity to share my sister’s story. My Nephews were born almost 4 months early.
On average 8.3% (25,113) of babies in Australia are born premature each year (according to the Mothers and Babies report in 2011). Premature means being born before 37 weeks gestation. This report showed that 6.6% of births were from 32-37 weeks, 0.8% between 28-31 weeks and 0.9% were from 20-27 weeks gestation. Can you even imagine having your baby this early?
I was so blessed to have had a healthy and full term baby, and yes I did think this when I was full term. I never once wished I wasn’t ‘so’ pregnant. This is because of my beautiful, inspiring and amazing sister.
When I was 8 weeks pregnant I was in Vegas on holidays. We hadn’t announced that we were pregnant choosing to wait to tell everyone after our holiday ended when I was around 13 weeks. My mobile phone woke me at 3am. It was my sister back home in Brisbane. She was calling to tell me the best news ever!!! She was pregnant!!!! It was her first baby and I couldn’t hold in my excitement and told her I was also pregnant! We were going to have our babies less than a month apart. We couldn’t have timed it better if we had planned it (which we certainly didn’t). 4 weeks later I was in Florida and I received a picture from my sister, it was her first ultrasound picture. IT WAS TWINS!!!! It was so unexpected and the best news I had ever heard. I could see in the picture that the twins were sharing one of their amniotic sacks. They were what is known as DCMA twins. This means they are identical! Way too exciting!
Apart from her horrendous morning/forever sickness everything was going well until her routine morphology scan at 19 weeks. It showed they weren’t growing at an equal rate and twin 1 had all the fluid leaving twin 2 glad wrapped in the amniotic sack. It also showed they were BOYS! This diagnosis was confusing, unwanted and very scary! My sister was referred to the Maternal Fetal Medicine unit at The Mater Mothers hospital in Brisbane. She is so lucky she lives in Brisbane and it wasn’t too far to travel. Other families have to travel thousands of kilometres away from their families and homes to have these appointments.
From here is was twice weekly ultrasounds and finally at 21 weeks they decided it was time to try laser surgery to stop the big twin taking all the blood flow and nutrients so they can share it out and hopefully give the smaller twin a chance. This procedure is absolutely mind blowing. They were able to put a scope into my sisters uterus and lasered closed some blood vessels. They also removed a few litres of amniotic fluid at the same time to help relieve some pressure and make it a bit more comfortable for her. She was admitted to the hospital for monitoring after this. She was basically in hospital for the next 4 weeks.
We spent mother’s day with her as a family in the hospital. Things were looking up. She hadn’t had any contractions for a while and the boys were going well after the surgery. Everyone was fairly positive. A scan was booked for the 13th of May. If all went well she could go home. That night however everything changed. I received a simple message around 1am ‘My waters have broken’. I was heartbroken. I called her straight away. She sounded terrified. I did my best to reassure her they would be doing everything possible to make sure the babies would be ok. I was praying they would be ok. She was moved to birth suite to start an infusion to help the babies if they were going to be born.
The next morning (the 12th of May) we got a call from her partner. They had taken her into theatre for an emergency caesarean. She had gone into labour and one of the boys had his legs tangled in the umbilical cord and it was coming through the cervix now it had dilated. Mum and I raced up to the Mater hospital, a good hour drive from my place. We had no idea what we would face when we arrived.
When we arrived we managed to contact my sister’s partner. The boys were in NICU and both were stable but on ventilators and had what seemed like millions of tubes and cords coming out of their humidicribs. My sister was in recovery and we waited in her room for her to return. We were all so scared. We had no idea what the future held for these tiny little boys or my sister. I don’t think I have ever been so scared in my whole life. My nephews were so tiny and fragile. They were born at 25+5 weeks and weighed 670g and 620g. They were tiny but the love we all had for them was enormous!
The next few months were what every premmie mum knows too well, a huge rollercoaster ride for everyone in the family but most of all my sister and her partner. Having her babies so early meant she couldn’t stay at the hospital with them so she was going home every night and was right back there first thing in the morning. She was known to spend 12+ hours a day sitting by the boys cots writing in her journal, pumping to give them her milk or telling them how strong and loved they are willing them to continue to fight.
My sister showed the most amazing strength day in and day out while her boys were in hospital and 127 days later (just over 4 months) they came home.
In one month these miracle boys will be turning one and are absolutely prefect in every way possible. They are supposed to be only 8 months old but instead are 11 months and are crawling around everywhere causing sweet havoc for my sister. They are perfectly healthy and I couldn’t possibly love them anymore.
I hope this has given you a bit of an insight into the journey family’s experience that have a premmie baby. Be thankful for the healthy full time pregnancy and baby you have.
For more information about premature births in Australia visit http://www.lilaussieprems.com.au/
Written by Midwife Alinta
(This article contains general information only and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified health professional. All information is written from the experience and knowledge of the person writing the post).