Baby Hugo goes home

Baby Hugo goes home

After 89 days being cared for at Mater Mothers’ Hospitals’ Neonatal Critical Care Unit, it’s time for baby Hugo to go home with his family.

Born 13 weeks premature weighing only 940 grams, it’s been a bumpy road for Hugo and parents Jed and Amber.

Aside from severe morning sickness, Amber’s pregnancy was going well until Hugo had a different plan to enter the world earlier than expected and Amber went into early labour.

"I started going into early labour at around 26 weeks which I just assumed were Braxton Hicks. I came into hospital and was admitted while the doctors and my obstetrician Dr Stephen Cattanach tried to delay the labour—we actually went down to birth suites three times as we were sure he was coming," Amber said.

"I wound up having an emergency c-section under a general anaesthesia and my partner Jed couldn't be in the room. Hugo was so little; he was whisked away to Mater Mothers’ Neonatal Critical Care Unit (NCCU) straight away. Even though I was upset I had missed the opportunity to have skin-to-skin contact and breastfeed Hugo, I knew he was in the best hands and was receiving the care he needed.

"After a few hours we were able to see Hugo in his little cot. It wasn’t until day three that I was actually able to hold him. Hugo is so beautiful and such a fighter."

Amber explains Hugo had some complications and their first few weeks in NCCU were extremely daunting.

"Hugo needed to be intubated and has had breathing difficulties. He received three blood transfusions and also experienced a small grade two bleed on his brain," Amber said.

"This was extremely difficult to hear, but Callum our neonatologist was so reassuring and explained things to us so we could understand which helped keep us calm. We are so thankful that we had Callum a part of our journey, he truly made it so much easier for us.

“Being in the NCCU has been a completely surreal experience, we have made friends with so many other families. Although it can be hard to see other families progress and move forward faster than you at the same time you are so happy for them.”

Amber said the advice she would offer to other families going through the NCCU journey would be to not compare your baby to the experience of others. Each baby has their own journey and no two babies are the same. 

“You can also bring little things in like extra sheets and mobiles to make the cot space feel like home. I wanted to feel involved in every way possible so I would bring in freshly washed sheets for Hugo” Amber said.

“I also found expressing milk for Hugo was really important for us.

"It is the most amazing and special thing you can do for your baby during their time in NCCU. Pumping is so hard, and many times I have cried to Jed and wanted to give up but I am so glad I have stuck to it as Hugo will be coming home exclusively breast-fed and I am super proud of that."

“Taking care of yourself is also really important.  I have been trying to balance being an NCCU mum and a mum to my daughter at home too,” Amber said.

At home Amber and her partner Jed have four-year-old Lilly, and understand this time has been quite confusing for her.

“Lilly didn’t really understand why we couldn’t bring him home sooner, but I know she’s going to be the best big sister to Hugo. She is always telling us her plans for when Hugo is home, she can’t wait to help with feeding him and changing his nappy,” Amber said.

“I try as hard as possible to be in the moment when I am with Lilly and when I have my time with Hugo as well. I have also been trying to also take some time for me each day, even if it just a walk or a coffee outside in the sun.

“I felt at fault for what happened with Hugo for so long and I blamed myself, the anxiety and stress is not good for yourself or your family, so I am slowly turning this around.

“Now I am just so looking forward to bringing Hugo home, so we can be a family together,” Amber said.

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For urgent assessment at any stage of your pregnancy, please present to your nearest emergency centre or Mater Mothers’ 24/7 Pregnancy Assessment Centre in South Brisbane.

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