Maternity photoshoot turns into surprise ‘fairytale’ proposal

A first-time Lockyer Valley mum has told how her maternity photoshoot turned into a surprise marriage proposal just days before her premature baby boy was born at Mater Mothers’ Hospital.

Newly engaged Jovana was on hospital bedrest for more than six weeks before little Jonah Lee Gray was born via an emergency caesarean section on 30 November.

She had no idea that her planned maternity shoot within the hospital gardens would turn into a “wonderful surprise”.

Jovana's partner Justin dropped to one knee in the gardens outside the hospital entrance and proposed on 18 November – also his own birthday.

He wanted to show his partner how much he loved her and their unborn son.

After being admitted to Mater Mothers’ Hospital on 15 October, Jovana, from Regency Downs, said she was worried about missing out on a maternity shoot.

“I was really happy and excited to dress up and put makeup on for our maternity shoot,” Jovana said.

“I had no idea Justin planned to propose to me! It’s really funny because he let it slip the night before that he had to go pick up the ring!

“He covered this up by saying he meant ‘things’ and that he and his mum were talking about rings.

“I know what he is like, and he usually mixes words up anyway, so I didn’t think much of it! 

“I also didn’t think he would propose to me on his birthday, so it was definitely a wonderful surprise.”

Jovana said with everything she had been going through physically and mentally throughout her pregnancy, in that moment she did not feel like she was “stuck in hospital”.

“I really felt like I was in a fairytale dream. And now I am here holding my own little Valentine,” she said.

Jovana said that at 22 weeks into her pregnancy she experienced some bleeding.

She said the morning Jonah was born, she started to haemorrhage. She was 34 weeks and one day into her pregnancy and had been on bedrest for several weeks in hospital.

“I believe I was experiencing placental abruption. I was told I lost a lot of blood when I was on the ward and during the birth of Jonah,” she said.

“I was in the Intensive Care Unit for a day and half and really wanted to see my baby.

“It was really heartbreaking that I didn’t have the pregnancy or birth experience I was hoping for. I had to go under general anaesthetic, my fiancé couldn’t be in the delivery room, and I couldn’t see my baby or hold him.

“But the moment I could see him and hold him, nothing else mattered.”

Jonah remained in the Neonatal Critical Care Unit at Mater Mothers’ for four days.

Ms Cakovan said her “little champ” remained in hospital until 13 December before being transferred to a hospital closer to home.

She thanked the multidisciplinary team at Mater Mothers’ for saving her life as well as baby Jonah’s.

“Although I felt miserable being away from home for such a long time and not being able to experience my pregnancy to the fullest, I am just so blessed that Jonah and I are safe and alive,” Jovana 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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