Baby Jenson's long journey home for Mother’s Day

Baby Jenson's long journey home for Mother’s Day

For baby Jenson, the first 15 weeks of his life have been pretty tough. At moments, it has felt like the whole world has stopped, like when Jenson’s little lungs were giving in after being born at only 25 weeks. But now mum Coby, has a new whirlwind to look forward to, taking baby Jenson home in time for her very first Mother’s Day.

15 weeks ago mum Coby packed up her desk at work and headed to Brisbane airport for a friend’s Hens weekend, starting at the tennis in Melbourne. The plan was to be back in the office on Monday.  But that never happened.

“I never made it to the tennis. I got to my friend’s house in Melbourne on Friday night and felt a bit unwell… I thought maybe it was Braxton Hicks but decided to be cautious and go to the hospital to get checked out so that I could go to the tennis feeling comfortable, knowing that everything was ok… I never left the hospital and at that moment everything turned upside down.”

Despite seeing her Mater Mothers’ obstetrician a few days earlier where everything was fine, initial tests in Melbourne suggested Coby’s waters had broken at just 25 weeks gestation. 

“I thought everything was going to be ok and then all of a sudden the doctors were saying that I was highly likely to go into labour in the next week. By the next morning my cervix had shortened significantly and the contractions continued over the next two days. My partner David made it to the hospital only twenty minutes before Jenson was born,” said Coby.

“That was such a horrible and scary moment…. when they were wheeling me into birth suites.  I was just hoping he wasn’t actually about to come – I knew it was way too early and all I wanted was for our baby boy to be ok.”

Baby Jenson was born on 22 January 2017 at 11:31pm weighing a tiny 762grams at only 25+3 week’s gestation. His due date wasn’t until 4 May.

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“There was still so much to do at home and at work, I was only just starting to properly show. He was my first baby… I hadn’t been to any of my Mater Mothers’ antenatal classes and we hadn’t even starting thinking about setting up the nursery.”

Baby Jensen spent 101 days at the Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne, 74 of those in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, before being flown home to Mater Mothers’ Hospital Brisbane by the Royal Flying Doctor Service on Wednesday 3 May. 

“Jenson’s lungs have been the biggest issue. He was ventilated for almost three weeks, on CPAP for about a month-and-a-half, high-flow for a month and then low-flow.  There have been so many ups and downs as we watched our little boy fight for his life.  Those first six to eight weeks were pretty horrible, and being so far away from home, from Dave and our support network made it even harder.”

“I remember the day where in an effort to keep him off the ventilator for a third time it was decided he needed steroids to help his little lungs develop and grow stronger, he was just so tired and his little lungs were working too hard and starting to collapse .”

Despite having just been through the hardest time of her life, Coby describes the birth as a ‘blessing in disguise’.

“I travel into remote Queensland for work quite often. A week-and-a-half after this happened I was scheduled to be heading out bush. So if he had have been born out there it would have been very, very different.”

“I think the reality of that hit after he was born… I remember on the Saturday, the doctors coming and sitting down with me to have the conversation about the chances of survival at 25 weeks, what the delivery would be like and saying we just wanted to try and get to  28 weeks,” said Coby.

“My first reaction was ‘can’t I just jump on a plane and come back to Brisbane, straight to Mater’... But the next day I went into labour and only 20 minutes later he was here, so tiny and being put on respiratory support.  Now I understand how quickly it can actually happen.”

After 14 weeks in Melbourne hotels, 26 flights by her partner Dave to visit their little boy on weekends, Coby spent her first night at home with Dave in Brisbane on 3 May, with her little boy safely cared for at the Mater Mothers’ Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.7.jpg

“Jenson’s due date was last Thursday 4 May, day 102. I’m nervous about going home with Jenson after such a long journey and no longer having monitors to tell us whether he’s breathing.”

It’s clear that baby Jenson is a fighter.

“Despite all he’s been through he’s actually really chilled, he hardly ever cries… but he’s been cheeky the whole time – he used to fight the ventilator so much that the doctors had to sedate him. He’s still got a journey ahead of him, but he is doing really well for a 25-weeker and we can’t wait to settle into life at home as a family and with our puppy dog Alfie.”

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