26 weeks gestation
Before Bella was even one, Geoff and I decided that we would have a second child. When I found out that I was pregnant I did a bit of research on pre-eclampsia and found that it is more common in first pregnancies and if it does reoccur in subsequent pregnancies it most commonly happen later. Well in my case both of these were untrue. At 26 weeks I was admitted into Toowoomba Hospital with suspected pre-eclampsia. That same day I was transferred to the Royal Women’s in Brisbane after an ultrasound showed reduced flow dopplers. I had had my suspicions from the start that I would run into difficulties again, but I never expected I would run into them so soon. May-be 34 weeks or something like that but 26 weeks was just too soon.
I was in the maternity ward at the women’s for 3 days having daily ultrasounds when on the Friday the dopplers began showing absent flow, they decided that she had to come out, (yes another girl). We were told that going by the measurement shown on the ultrasound, our precious girl would weigh in the low 700s. My Caesar was booked for later that day. This time I got to stay awake which was amazing. When they held her up for me to see I couldn’t believe it. Bella had been small and I had seen other babies in the nursery when I had Bella that were smaller that her but this little baby was even smaller.
They took her over and began to work on her. Someone then told me her weight. I didn’t believe it at first but then it sank in. My precious Lianna weighed a tiny 594 grams at 26 weeks gest. I just couldn’t stop crying. I had prepared myself mentally for a small 700 gram baby but nothing could have prepared me for this. I was taken through the nursery to meet my baby after leaving recovery on my way back up to the ward. She was beautiful. Tiny but beautiful. The nurses said to me that it would be a long hard road and that the next couple of days would be critical.
I don’t think I ever thought that anything terrible would happen to her. I thought that we would just breeze on through just like we did with Bella. I was very wrong. The lowest her weight got to was 540grams. Lianna spent a month on the ventilator. It took a little bit of time to get her to tolerate her feed because of medical reasons I couldn’t express so she had to have half strength S26. Lianna then spent 8 weeks on CPAP. She managed to stay off on her 5th trial. She had 2 blood transfusion and one major set back when she really didn’t take her 3rd trail of CPAP very well and ended up back on and in 100-60% oxygen.
After an amazing 117 days in hospital we were able to take Lianna home. Dragging home oxygen with us. Lianna weight 3850grams and was 3 days short of being 4 months old. What an amazing feeling that was. No more Ronald McDonald house, no more missing Bella grow up, no more waiting. Lianna is now 6 ½ months old and doing really well. This week she rolled over and she has started doing the baby babble thing. She is a very happy baby and just smiles and gurgles all the time. She still requires a small amount of oxygen but we are hoping that at her next paed appointment in a month and a half she won’t need it anymore.
I have had two very different premmie journeys. With Bella it was so problem free. We were back at our regional hospital within 3 weeks and she really had none of those step backs we are told about when we embark on our journey. Lianna was a totally different kettle of fish. She was definitely a one step forward two steps back kind of girl. We only got back to our regional hospital a week and a half before we went home. Having to leave Bella at home while I stayed in Brisbane was also very hard. Sure I got to see her every weekend but I missed a huge chunk of her growing up. When I left for Brisbane she was a baby, when I came home she was a little girl.
Spending so much time in the ICN was really a life changing experience. I saw and experienced more in those 3 and a half months than I would ever have wanted to in my whole life. These tiny babies really are amazing. They have so much fight and such a strong will to live. Everyday for them is a struggle between life and death.
I would like to thank the amazing nurses at the Royal Women’s Hospital ICN. Especially Donna, Ann and Margaret. Without their words of wisdom and comfort I doubt I would have kept any of my sanity. I would also like to thank my wonderful husband Geoff who has been my rock throughout this journey.