As told by mum, Jen

I held her for two minutes, if that, and she was whisked away. I didn’t think my first baby would be taken straight to SCBU straight after delivery.  I will never forget that feeling of meeting Sophie for the first time, saying to my husband that she looks like a Sophie, and watching this skinny, tiny little baby move her head and look straight at me.  After 25 minutes of active labour, she came out to greet us – seven weeks early.

Sophie (4).jpegOur journey begun with IVF.  Unfortunately, we were not having the greatest luck trying to conceive and after a lot of medical tests and visits to Hamilton Fertility Associates, we were on our first round of In vitro Fertilisation.  I had a few medical issues in the past which didn’t contribute well. I’d had a lletz proceedure when I was about 28. As a result of this, my cervix had closed over and I needed to have a cervix stenosis proceedure to open the hole. I also had endometriosis in the past so I had a lot of scar tissue.
We were lucky that Sophies little embryo clung on to my uterus and began to grow perfectly. She was meeting all her growth measurements and her heartbeat made me cry every time. So beautiful. We had some bleeding at 14 weeks, but this was confirmed as nothing after a scan. Even though we were stressed is was so nice to see her kicking around.
I had an appointment with the Gynaecologist and discussed, due to my past history, having an caesarean. He agreed and this was scheduled in. It wasn’t until my 21 week scan that I asked them to scan my cervix. Something at the back of my mind just said ‘Check it!’. They advised it was not on the form but proceeded to do this anyway. The scan showed my cervix measuring at 1cm. The scan was on a Friday and I received the results the following Monday.  My midwife called and urgently required me to come to the hospital maternity unit for a preterm labour test. Panicked and scared of what was going on, I drove into town which was 30 minutes from where I live.
The test was positive.
Stunned and shocked, I was sent home and advised I was on leave from work. I had my first injection of steroids for Sophie. I went home feeling numb and in limbo.Sophie (2).jpeg
At 12.30am the next morning, I woke up with weird pains, and a sore lower back. I waited until 7am before calling my midwife as thought I was being overly dramatic but was advised to go to Rotorua Hospital straight away. I was monitored on the CTG and was having extremely large contractions. I was given stop labour medicine and sent to Waikato Hospital. Sophie was only 29 weeks. I had never been so scared in my life.
My body was failing my baby. I was scared I was going to lose her.
I was ambulanced over to Waikato Hospital with a second shot of steroids on the journey over.  I spent two and a half weeks there. Monitored daily and a second Preterm labour test (fetal fibronectin test).  This was positive showing she would arrive before 34 weeks. Once I got to 32 weeks we were sent back to Rotorua Hospital. I spent four days here until I left. I was made to feel like I should be at home and was wasting peoples time and I had a few medical professionals tell me the test was useless.
I left on the Tuesday before Sophie was born and spent four days at home after being in hospital from the 12th June 2017. It was now the 4th July 2017.  I wanted home. I wanted my husband and my life. It was selfish but after so long in hospital it was emotionally draining.
On the Saturday night we had a friends 30th. We planned for a bit of time out to let me relax and socialise as I had been a prisoner for so long. We arrived at the venue. Stairs. A lot of stairs. I took my time and gradually worked my way up. We were only there for 15 minutes and my waters broke. Straight to Taupo Maternity and back to Rotorua Hospital. I could have kicked myself. I knew deep down I should have stayed in hospital or the couch, but my mental health had taken a major toll I couldn’t bear to be in there any longer.

Sophie (1).jpeg

The night staff looked after me well. Regularly monitored and checked on. Unfortunately I didn’t feel like the day staff were as great. I had a bloody show at 9.30am. I had contractions every 15 mins. One would be manageable, the next one painful. This went on all day, no CTG no vaginal exam, no Doctor visit. Left alone, with comments that I had an over active uterus.  
The change of midwife came at 3.00pm where I had climbed off the bed and advised I needed a poop. After a vaginal exam I was advised I was crowning and to ‘get back up on that bed!’.  I was left like this all day!. I was so angry but wanted my baby safe. I needed to do what I could to make sure my baby made it safely. After an emergency button push, 12 or so staff joined the room. Sophie was born after 25 minutes of active pushing weighing 4lb 74oz (2.15kgs) and was rushed to SCBU.
Nothing ever prepares you for seeing your baby in an incubator, with monitors, drips and leads all over her. I cried. Although you know they are helping her, it’s still not the way I wanted the labour for my baby to be.
We spent two weeks and five days in SCBU.  She hit all the milestones and excelled. I couldn’t believe it. She was so strong and independent. We were one of the lucky ones that got to go home after two weeks and five days. We left new friends and their little precious bundles. It’s amazing the support network you make in SCBU. All I can recommend after being in hospital for so long is talk to people. Make a support crew. It’s tough in there. My husband was an hour and a half away from Hamilton and an hour away from Rotorua. Having some support crew, or even the mum next to you to talk to helps.
My Sophie Jade is now 19 months old. She’s up to my hip already in height. You would never know that her start to life was a little bit rocky. You would never know she was born at 33 weeks and one day. Never.
I am glad that the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) was there for her and worked quickly to ensure she had the best care and start to life.
Thanks heaps xox

*** Thanks for sharing Jen ***

We get a lot of positive feedback from families in a neonatal unit who read these stories and feel strength, hope and positivity knowing that they are not alone going through these experiences and feeling certain emotions.

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  • The Little Miracles Trust provides support to families of premature or sick full-term babies as they make their journey through Neonatal Intensive Care, the transition home, and onwards. We do not receive any Government funding and are entirely reliant on the generousity of individuals, companies and organisations in the form of donations, value-in-kind donations, grants, sponsorship and fundraising events to supplement operating costs and fund our services and initiatives.
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  • Here’s a gallery of support examples