Saturday, January 5, 2013

Welcome to Holland

I remember reading this Poem whilst in hospital, sitting by my babies humidicrib. It is in a special diary, titled Premature Baby Diary, One Day at a time, This diary was given to me as a gift and is one of the best gifts i have ever been given, and i would have been lost without it. The Diary is filled with stories of other premature babies journeys and also has pages to fill in with all the dramas that have happened in the babies day and believe me sometimes alot can happen in a day.
This poem I have reread so many times and was so appropriate at the time, I'm not sure of the authors name but it was obviously written by a parent going thru the same experience.

Welcome to Holland - Author Unknown

When u are going to have a baby,
its like planning a fabulous trip to Italy.
You buy a bunch of guide books and make wonderful plans.
The Colosseum, Michaelangelo's David, the gondolas in Venice.
You may even learn phrases in Italian.
It's all very exciting!
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives.
You pack your bags and off you go.
Several hours later the plane lands.
The flight attendant comes and says, "Welcome to Holland"
"Holland"? you say, "What do u mean Holland"?
I signed up for Italy.
But there's been a change of flight plan.
They've landed in Holland and there you must stay
The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible disgusting,
filthy place full of pestilence, famine and disease.
It's just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new books
And you must learn a whole new language
And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met
It's a different place.
It's slower-paced than Italy.
Less flashy than Italy.
But after you've been there for a while and catch your breathe, you look around
and notice that Holland has windmills,
Holland has tulips,
Holland even had Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is coming and going from Italy.
And they're bragging about what a wonderful time they had there.
For the rest of your life you will say,
"Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. thats what I had planned"
And the pain of that will never, ever go away because the loss of a dream is a very significant loss
But if u spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy,
You may never be free to enjoy the very special, very lovely things about

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Ready or not, here I come

During the next few days I had so many blood tests and scans to decide if the baby should be delivered sooner rather then later.  The Dr's decided to wait and see what my body was going to do.  It was now Friday night and I again suffered from a bad headache and chest pains, apparently my blood pressure was thru the roof, and the Dr was called to look at me, It was about 2 in the morning and he was very concerned about seizures and it was decided I would have an emergency Cesarean in the morning, ifmy blood pressure didnt go down alot with some medication, and of course it didnt.

I remember the midwife phoning Mum and Shane and advising them to come in ASAP.  I can also remember another nurse coming to see me and explain about the NICU - Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, where my baby would go. - I cant remember much of what was said but i do remember the nurse saying that if the hospital were more prepared for me and my baby i would have been able to go on a tour of the nursery then I was asked about what breathing equipment I would like to be given to my baby - ventilator or CPAP machine, this didn't make any sense to me, wouldn't they (the Dr's) do what is needed for my baby, if it survived, I mean geez 25wks is just over half way, what chances does the baby have.  There was so much going on in my room I was so overwhelmed and just wanted to go home and wake up from my nightmare.  I don't think I really knew what was about to happen, Miss S had been in Special Care Nursery so i knew what it was all about, right, no wrong this was nothing compared to her.

It was about 11am now and I was wheeled into the theatre for the cesarean.  At 12.08pm my little girl was born, Miss M.  She weighed 505gm and was 30cm long.  She was tiny, one of the smallest babies to be born at KEMH.  Her skin was transparent and her arms and legs were no thicker then my fingers.  I did not get to see her for 2 days as I was rushed to the Adult Special Care Unit for monitoring.  All I was given was a photo to look at.  I wasn't allowed visitors apart from my immediate family, mum dad etc even my other kids were not allowed in.  I was all alone wondering what the hell was going on.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The calm before the storm

I went for an ultrasound at around 20 weeks, this was a routine scan checking on a number or things and we were also hoping to find out the sex of the baby (but didn't).  I went back to my Obstetrician Dr R a week later for all the results, I was very nervous going for this scan, not sure why but I'm thinking it has something to do with all the other times i went for scans and there was something found to be wrong.  Anyways I sat in the Dr's waiting room for over an hour as Dr R was always running late.

My blood pressure was still on the higher side of normal, even with medication and Dr R was not happy with that.  After analyzing my scans for like 5 - 10 mins he advised me that he could no longer look after me and my baby and that it was best for everyone that i go the KEMH ASAP and see a Dr there as he wasn't happy with the growth of this baby. It seemed that the blood going from the placenta to the baby wasn't enough and the baby wasn't growing.  Great i thought to myself now i have to travel for an hour and wait forever to see another Dr, I loved Dr R, he had looked after me with my other pregnancies and babies and i was very comfortable with him.

Dr R arranged for my scans and a letter to be couriered to KEMH and told me to go home and phone the hospital and arrange to be seen on Monday by a Dr, he couldn't have stressed it enough how important it was for me to be seen ASAP.  It was a Thursday and by the time i arrived home it was late afternoon and too late to phone the hospital. I came home and told Shane what was happening, we tried not to stress too much and decided to phone the hospital in the morning.

I phoned the hospital first thing in the morning and was advised the next appointment wouldn't be for another 3 weeks, well I knew that wasn't suitable and told the receptionist this, I explained about my Dr's report etc and she still couldn't get me in any sooner.  I hung up and was in tears, frustrated with the whole situation.  I phoned my Dr hoping he could do something but he was in theatre delivering a baby and wasn't available for an hour or so.

Shane decided to take matters into his own hands, he phone a local politician, and still got no where and then he phone the Minister for Health.  Somehow he got me an appointment for the following Monday.
Well that weekend was horrible, I can remember suffering from a really bad headache (I would have called it a migraine) and bad indigestion.  The indigestion I found out was actually chest pains associated with pre eclampsia, The midwife that i first saw at the hospital was very worried and advised me that i should have come to the hospital sooner as this is a symptom of Pre eclampsia and I could have had a seizure as my blood pressure was extremely high as well.

Needless to say I wasn't allowed to go home and was admitted to hospital, probably until the baby was born.  Mum and Dad came to the rescue again and looked after Mr K and Miss S. I was now 25 weeks pregnant and was looking at another 3 - 4 months in hospital WooHoo.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Miss S 2002

Once we all settled in at home, our life started to settle down a little, Miss S was my easiest baby by far, she would sleep really well, feed often and hardly cried.  I'm not sure if it was because of the routine in the hospital, she was left on her own alot when I wasn't there and she was used to all the noise and light, nothing seemed to faze her at all.

We had alot of follow up appointments at KEMH. This hospital was a good 40 - 50mins away from our house and parking was hard to find. (isn't it always). We saw paediatricians that checked on her development, we were refered to other departments within the hospital for physio, and a play department to develop her fine motor skills.  Some weeks we seemed to live at the hospital.
Miss S seemed to do alot of things in her own time.  She walked when she was 18mths, even thou this may seem late for walking you need to remember that she was 10weeks early so she actually walked at around 15 months corrected age.

Miss S was around 6months old when I started to feel like a failure of a mother again.  Yes PND was rearing its ugly head again.  Even though everything at home was running smoothly, I just felt like I couldn't do anything right, I never got to the point where I would harm myself or my children but I just didn't want to get out of bed some days but I knew I had to, my babies weren't old enough to feed themselves. Mr K had started Kindy and this was a new experience for me (and him).  I would put on a happy face for him at school but then go home and feel overwhelmed by everything.

Shane and I ended up joining a group of parents who were also dealing with PND.  We met once a week for 4 weeks in an evening and it was great that the male partners were so involved.  I didn't really expect to suffer from PND again, I thought I could deal with it again on my own, I tried to remember everything that i learnt from before but I just couldn't get it to work for me this time. I had two beautiful babies and life was fantastic but I just couldn't deal with it all.  Eventually I managed to feel better about myself and my world and made a few new friends along the way.

Around the time Miss S turned 1, I found myself pregnant again, only to miscarry again when I was around 7 weeks pregnant.  As much as this was a surprise pregnancy I was devastated again.  I didn't know if this meant no more babies for us, or as alot of people said to us, "Its natures was of saying there is something wrong with the baby, Its (the baby) just not meant to be", I will never forget those hurtful words, I tried to put it all behind me and I believe that unless you have personally suffered a miscarriage you would never say that to anyone, some people just do not understand.

It was a couple of months later, In January 2003 that we discovered I was pregnant again, I had no trouble falling pregnant just staying pregnant.  Again we were very cautious and nervous about telling the world so we waited until I was 3 months, I was suffering alot of morning (allday) sickness this time round and was told the sicker you are the healthier the baby will be, yeah right.  My blood pressure again started to rise and I was ordered to rest as much as I could and put on medication again. I also was visiting my Obstetrician every couple of weeks, my only concern was what were my chances of having another premature baby, less then 20% I was advised, I started to feel alot better about this statistic but unfortunately my body had other ideas.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


It was now March 2001and both Shane and I were extremely cautious about who we told about our pregnancy.  Every time I had a pain we were so scared something bad was going to happen.  I had lost the other babies around 5 - 8 weeks so as soon as we passed 12 weeks I felt more positive about this baby and told the world our news.  Everything was going along smoothly apart from my blood pressure that continued to rise no matter how much I rested or the medication I was put on.  I was working part time at this stage and Mr K was in Daycare (he had just turned 3).  I also had alittle spotting but nothing major until early September.  I was now 30 weeks pregnant.

It was a Monday night, I had just come home from work and was eating dinner.  I got up from the table to put my plate in the kitchen but felt a strange sensation in my abdomen.  As I stood there thinking WTF is happening, I felt a huge gush of fluid run down my leg, as I looked down all I could see was blood.  It was then that I started to panic and started to feel sharp pains, I then screamed for Shane to phone my parents.  I think mum must have flown over to our house as she was there within minutes.  Now I look back I wonder why we didn't phone for an ambulance straight away or the hospital I was booked into.  As Shane cant handle to sight of blood he tried to amuse Mr K while mum and I then made a few phone calls.

We did eventually phone the Hospital I was booked into have the baby asking what we should do.  The midwife phoned my Obstetrician and he suggested we phone for an ambulance and go to King Edward Memorial Hospital (KEMH) as this was the only hospital that would deliver babies before 34 weeks. Hang on did I hear right "deliver", OMG did he think I was in labour?, how could he, he hasn't even seen me, stupid Dr.  I cant have this baby now, I still have 10 weeks to go, We haven't even finished the babies room, washed the clothes or even painted the room, I think the cot was set up but that was about it.

I phoned for an ambulance  (Funny thing is we didn't have any ambulance cover at the time, I had the enrolment form all filled out and ready to post on our kitchen table).  So off I went (my first time in an ambulance) just the lights on but no siren.  I had to go on my own while Mum and Shane sorted out Mr K. I was admitted into hospital and told to rest.  Yeah right, I was supposed to work tomorrow, what was my son thinking, what if I had the baby early, were some of the things going thru my head.

I rested as best I could and was sent home a few days later, my bleeding had stopped and my blood pressure had stabilized.  I had to go home on strict bed rest and if anymore bleeding happened I was to go straight back to hospital.. I rested as best I could with a toddler at home.

I remember waking up on Wednesday morning (12 Sep) and turned on the TV to see the news reports about a plane flying into the Twin Towers in America.  I couldn't believe what I was seeing and as I sat down on the lounge to watch the events I felt a sharp stabbing pain in my my belly, as I stood up I realised I was bleeding again.  Here we go again.  I phoned both Shane and my Mum and it was decided that I was going back to KEMH.  It was also decided that Mr K was going to stay with my parents until this baby was born.

Monday, January 2, 2012

2001 part 2

On the morning of Friday 14 September I was told I could go home again as the bleeding had stopped and my blood pressure had dropped to a more acceptable level and to come back if I had any more bleeding, I didn’t know if I was coming or going. I cant quite put my finger on it but I didn’t feel right, don’t ask me what didn’t feel right was, I cant explain it but I told the midwife how I felt and she suggested I lie down in bed and rest, I didn’t want to go home but I didn’t want to stay in hospital either.
At the same time my Uncle was very sick and I remember this was also the day mum was going to visit him, I didn’t want  her to rearrange her plans so I didn’t bother phoning her or Shane as he was also working and decided to do what the midwife suggested.

Around lunch time I started to get cramps but grinned and bared it until around 3pm when the lady in the bed next to me asked if I wanted her to ring someone for me as I was still in pain and all the midwife would give me is panadol, "No I'm fine thanks", I replied and managed to get up to go to the loo, whilst sitting on the toilet I had this horrible urge to push but I stopped myself somehow and managed to press the alarm button, a midwife managed to get in the toilet as I had locked it and there was no way I was getting off the toilet in a hurry. I managed somehow to get back to bed and the midwife examined me then hurried off, I didn’t know what to do other then groan . I just lied there on the bed wondering what was wrong, should I phone Shane and let him know something is wrong again but before long a couple of Dr's and the midwife came back in and examined me again and off I went to the delivery ward, I didn’t know it was the delivery ward at the time I was wheeled in but before long I knew what was going to happen.
 F*#k I cant do this again I cant loose my baby. It will only be 32 weeks old, it isn’t ready to come out, why me  - why now?, what on earth have I done to deserve this?
It was now around 4.30pm, and as the midwives were arranging me and putting in needles I asked for an epidural. The whole time I had been in labor and all I had was 2 panadol, "I'm sorry dear", said the midwife," but there isn’t time, you are going to have this baby within the next half hour" "WHAT" I screamed at her, "no I'm not, I still have a few weeks before the baby is due, what the hell are u talking about" I cried,  "no dear, the baby is coming now" she whispered calmly in my ear.

I know this sounds strange to you, as I had already had a baby 3 ½ yrs before but I didn’t realise I was in labor, this time was very different to Mr K, I cant explain how but I seriously didn’t think I was in labor or i would have asked for an epidural ages ago.

"I want my mum", I cried to her, "I just want my mum", "I'm sorry dear there isn’t any time to wait, the baby is coming and it is time to push" replied the midwife    All it took was 3 pushes and Miss S arrived. I didn’t hear her cry, she was wrapped up and then shown to me for like 5 seconds before being rushed away to the neonatal ward.
I was then allowed to make some phone calls. I phoned Shane who was still at work I don’t think he believed me when I rang and told him, I then rang my parents and they weren’t home so I left a message, "Mum Ive just had a baby can u come to the hospital now". Mum still jokes about that message, I didn’t even tell her if I had a boy or girl. 
 I then showered and was given a new room and waited for both Shane and mum to come to the hospital, Dad stayed home with Mr K.
Miss S weighed 1.865kgs and was perfect. She didn’t need any help breathing but needed to be tube feed as she still hadn’t developed her sucking reflexes.  I stayed in hospital for 3 days. They were a few of the worst days I had ever had.  Only a handful of people visited me, I felt lonely, I remember after Mr K was born my hospital room was full of flowers, cards and gifts. To this day I still don't know if it was the distance that kept people away or just the whole premature birth experience.  I understand that not everyone was allowed to go into the neonatal nursery (due to germs etc only immediate family were allowed) but I needed the support. Only my immediate family could go into the neonatal nursery, Miss S was in the 2nd nursery which I guess was the middle nursery as there were 3 other nurserys in the department. (I wasnt really aware at the time what they were for as all I was concentrating on was my baby). Depending on where abouts in the nursery Miss S's cot was, friends may be able to see her from the windows but obviously couldn't hold or touch her. I didn't get to show her off as I did with Mr K and I felt ripped off.  

During my days in the hospital, I had to learn to express milk, for her tube feeds and just sat in the nursery watching her, I couldn't believe how tiny she was and how perfect she looked.

After 3 days I was sent home without my baby, Miss S had to stay in the nursery until she put on weight and could suck all her feeds.  I will never forget that day, I was torn emotionally about going home to be with my son and partner but also knowing that my daughter needed me as well, but i couldn't stay with her. At least you will not have any sleepless nights or getting up for feeds during the night, one well meaning friend said, little did she know how I was yearning for my baby to be home with us all as a family.

After 2 weeks in KEMH Miss S was transfered to another hospital only 20mins away from our home, as all she needed now was tube feeding.  She spent another 2 weeks at that hospital until she was fully bottle/breast feeding on her own.  In total she spent 4 weeks in hospital and came home at 36 weeks old, and weighted just over 2kgs now.  She still should not have been here, she still had another 4 weeks to go, but my Miss S had other ideas. 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

3rd time unlucky

Call it women's intuition, I had a bad feeling about this ultrasound and insisted on Shane coming with me, which is why I made the appointment on a Saturday. I thought I was around 8 weeks pregnant by now, so I knew we should be able to see a heartbeat.

Don't ask me how I knew , but I knew something was wrong.  The senographer asked us when we were next seeing our GP, which happened to be the following Tuesday. She then told us not to miss the appointment, when I asked why, whats wrong?, she calmly told me that she wasn't at liberty to tell us - WTF.

Well the alarm bells were ringing big time by now. The suspense was killing me, I couldn't wait to get in the car and open the envelope. 

BIG mistake.  I cant remember all the nitty gritty details, but basically a heart beat could not be found.  I totally lost it in the car, Shane didn't know what to do.  He drove straight to my parents house, as they were looking after Mr K for us.

As horrible as this sounds, I didn't want the baby inside me anymore, and I needed the baby to come out NOW.  After much discussions and tears, it was decided that I needed to see a Dr ASAP.  As out GP was closed I ended up seeing a Dr at an after hours clinic.The Dr we saw was fantastic, she booked me into King Edward Memorial Hospital the very next day for a  D & C.

I still kept my appointment for the Tuesday as I wanted answers.  Why me?, why us?, whats wrong with me?, why cant I have another baby?.  Our GP couldn't give me any answers, so he suggested we see a Fertility Clinic.  Which we did, and I managed to get some answers.  But they weren't what I was looking for.

I was diagnosed with Poly cystic Ovary Syndrome. Basically it can be very hard for me to fall pregnant. It was suggested that we start fertility treatment, which meant going into the clinic during the month for hormone injections etc.  The clinic was about and hour drive from our house, apart from the distance I also had my little boy to look after and the cost involved was unbelievable.  We just couldn't afford it, we had just moved into our house and money was tight.  I ended up going back to the Clinic for a Pap smear and another ultrasound, and came home with some fantastic news.

I was pregnant again.