Premature birth – Elizabeth’s story

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It’s Huggies mission to ensure every baby gets the best start to life. World Prematurity Day (November 17), raises awareness of preterm birth, and the challenges both babies and parents face. In honour of this important day, we’ve asked Huggies Mum, Elizabeth – mum of Cooper to share her incredible story with us.

“As a first time mum, it never came to mind that my baby would come early let alone be born prematurely. I had a great start to pregnancy with none of the usual symptoms like morning sickness or fatigue. It was a textbook pregnancy until at 25 weeks when my world came crashing down.

My Husband Andrew and I had just landed in Far North Queensland for our second attempt at a honeymoon (thanks to Covid!). I hadn’t felt the normal morning and evening somersaults and kicks for a couple of days, so we called our Midwife in Sydney who advised us to go straight to Cairns Hospital for a check-up just to be on the safe side.

The team at the hospital conducted scans and checks and it was there we heard the doctor's dreaded words “your baby isn’t growing & you need to get on the next flight back to Sydney as it looks like you’ll be having this baby in the next couple of days”.

We arrived back home and after further testing we learnt that Cooper had a condition called IUGR (Intrauterine growth restriction), a condition which restricts the growth of the baby during pregnancy and in my case an ineffective placenta was the culprit. This was compounded by the fact the Doctors advised us that there would be a high chance I would have to give birth to Cooper at any moment. Thankfully with weekly monitoring he managed to stay put for another 7 weeks. Although I had time to process it all, nothing can ever prepare you for pre-term birth.

At 32 weeks our little 1.2kg warrior entered the world. Although there was a huge relief that Cooper entered the world safely, my heart was broken seeing him whisked away so quickly. I felt robbed that I was not able to have that first hold and the first initial skin to skin. Something I struggled with the most was seeing all the new parents leave the hospital with their babies and that I walked out empty-handed.

Cooper’s journey in the NICU began at Level 3 of care, the highest level of care provided for premature babies. Although a very confronting situation, it soon was clear that Cooper was in the best place.

As the days and weeks went by, Cooper began to gain weight and the level of assistance he required became less and less. The cannula was the first to come out, then the CPAP was removed and a less invasive High-flow was attached. Lots of milestones hit and a couple of speed bumps to level it out – a rollercoaster of highs and lows.

Daily trips to the NICU take their toll both mentally and physically. Not to mention leaving our precious little one at the end of every day. The only solace we could take was that he was being looked after by the most kind-hearted and professional healthcare workers, who not only looked after Cooper but also ensured both Andrew and I were ok also. We are forever grateful for their work and have a new found appreciation for what they do on a daily basis. It is an experience I don’t wish upon anyone but it definitely made me a stronger person and every milestone he hit was even better.

On the 19th of April 2022, a day we will never forget, was the day we were finally able to bring our precious son Cooper home. The excitement and relief overtook the nerves. Cooper settled in at home and we were overcome with a sense of gratitude and relief that he was finally home with his Mum and Dad. Fast forward to today where Cooper is a healthy, happy, smiley little boy who we can’t wait to watch grow and continue to hit all his milestones.”

Stories like Elizabeth’s help encourage parents who may feel alone, scared or overwhelmed by life with a premature baby.

Find out more about Huggies Premmie nappies

 

Written by Elizabeth Lassithiotakis, November 2022

Elizabeth is mum to Cooper and lives in Sydney with her husband Andrew.

 

16/09/21 - min Read

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