Jenny's Story

Jenny's Story

We are proud to announce the arrival of our beautiful baby boy Sonny Kiharoa Ainsley born on the 16 November 2017 7.53 am weighing in at 3.2 kgs. Now he didn’t enter this world in any old fashion and has had quite the adventure in his short life thus far! We decided to share this story because a) it’s quite the epic story and b) we have overwhelming gratitude for the Mater Mothers’ Hospitals Brisbane without this amazing hospital and staff I have no doubt Sonny would not be with us today – our very own little Mater Miracle.

On Thursday 16 November I had an antepartum haemorrhage (bleed) at home I knew how serious this was due to being a paramedic and also scans identifying I possibly had a condition called vasa previa and had a scheduled caesarean for the 27 November. The condition meant the bleeding was from Sonny and not entirely mine, therefore, I knew we had to get to hospital quickly as small amounts of blood loss would be significant for him and I also hadn’t felt him move.

I called an ambulance (my only birth plan was to not have an ambulance! Shows you shouldn’t have any birth plan!). I pre-notified the hospital and after a quick trip in was met by a team of people. Hard to mention everyone but I’ll never forget midwife Dani who was the first face I saw and visited us several times and got a Sonny cuddle after a long week wait!

Dr Josephine Cheung was the on-call obstetrician who was filled in for my obstetrician Dr Fiona Dalzell. They had difficulty finding his heart beat and required an ultrasound to pick up a very slow heart rate of 40. During this time my husband Parata was getting into scrubs in the bathroom to potentially come into theatre however once the heartbeat of 40 was recognised Dr Jo did not muck around! I was wheeled out of the room as he came out of the bathroom and I shouted can someone please tell my husband, as you can imagine Parata had an awful wait while we were in theatre.

The Mater Mothers' Hospital is one of the biggest in Australia, they deal with emergencies regularly and act so quickly. This meant a team was ready for me in theatre.

I was sedated very quickly and knife to flesh to Sonny being born was two minutes! We started calling Dr Cheung two-minute Jo! She wouldn’t confirm if that was a record time or not but surely it is! Without her quick actions and the whole team Sonny would not be here, she believed five minutes longer would have been too late. From ambulance to Sonny being delivered was 61 minutes.IMG_5579.jpg

Sonny required resuscitation with four minutes of CPR, blood transfusion and adrenaline. Due to Sonny’s initial presentation he was classed as a moderate case of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (head injury from lack of oxygen) and therefore went directly to being cooled (induced hypothermia) for 72 hours to stop any further brain injury and allow the brain time to heal. Our little Sonny was also part of the PAEAN trial which is the combination of the drug Epo along with the cooling, they have separately been proven however not together, it’s hard for babies to fit the criteria so we are so happy that something so traumatic can aid in research and potentially improve outcomes for other babies!

After an awful wait Parata found out we had a boy! And was able to see our little Sonny before he went to intensive care and was able to tell me how perfect and awake he looked. After I woke up enough I was taken to see him as you can imagine they were struggling to stop me getting up! We had a long 72 hour wait while he was cooled and was awful not being able to pick him up however we both felt very positive about him.

The next 24 hours they rewarmed Sonny which was a high-risk period for seizures, on the Monday  morning we got an awful call to our room saying he had a couple of seizures in the night. A pretty big low that day as we were thinking what this meant long term and also meant he was sedated and monitored for another 24 hours, so no cuddles!

Tuesday was MRI day, he looked really well, loved being warm and had no further seizures and after looking at the ‘brains monitor’ EEG they weren’t completely convinced they were seizures as present very differently in babies. I also snuck my first cuddle after a long six day wait before Sonny got in his warm incubator and made a journey through the corridors to Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital next door for the MRI. The MRI was going to be the most conclusive evidence if he had any brain damage or not. We were told though it may very well show something minor that may not mean anything therefore were not getting our hopes up too much. We were told on Wednesday we would get the results.

Dr Richard Mausling looked after Sonny and we could not possibly speak higher of him. He ran the resuscitation of Sonny and all the on-going care intensive care, he explained everything so well and although gave positive information also prepared us for the worst. He answered my never-ending questions and I’m pretty sure didn’t go home over the weekend! That man works extremely hard! On Tuesday afternoon we were visiting Sonny and Dr Mausling came to find us to let us know that MRI was all clear!! Best possible news I started bawling (which isn’t the best after having your stomach cut open!) but was the biggest relief and most wonderful news.

IMG_5623.jpgFrom here we made great progress with lead and tube one by one coming out, Sonny moved to special care to make sure he could get feeding (had no doubt off spring of ours would like food!). We then had a night with him at hospital with more support from wonderful staff to do the ‘normal’ new parent stuff. They stay was estimated to be longer, however we were packed and ready to go at 7am Friday the 24 November we were very keen to get our new little bundle home, and since being home couldn’t be happier!

From such a traumatic event and start to Sonny’s life we have drawn so many positives from it. I am overwhelmed at how many good people do exist (working as a paramedic in the city for six years does unfortunately make you a little pessimistic!). We had the most genuine kind person after person.

Thank you to firstly Parata an event like this makes or breaks you and we have never been stronger or more supportive of each other and prouder to be parents of Sonny. Also to friends and family that offered support through texts, phone calls, feeding the cat tidying and restocking the house the never ending brownies, flowers, expressing bra, fluorescent headbands the comic relief recordings from Scottish friends babies! We love and appreciate you all so much!

Finally special mention to Dr Dalzell, Dr Cheung and Dr Mausling and all the staff of the Pregnancy Assessment Centre, the Neonatal Critical Care Unit and Level 10. Sonny has so many new ‘aunties’ and all the kind words and support offered meant so much to us. Without Mater Mothers and the staff to go with it Sonny would not be with us we could not thank you all enough. Anyone having babies in Brisbane please go there, you’re stupid not to! And anyone wanting to show support can visit the Mater Little Miracles website.

Thank you for listening! 

Jenny, Parata and Sonny xx




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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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