Mater Little Miracles help mums like Michelle

Mater Little Miracles help mums like Michelle

Michelle Worthington was 25 weeks pregnant with her third child when she found she was starting to go into labour at her appointment at Mater Mother’s Private Redland.

Obstetrician Michael Mastry organised for Michelle to be admitted to Mater Mothers' Private Hospital in Brisbane on bed rest and to ensure her and the baby were observed by the specialist teams.

However, three weeks later, at only 28 weeks, Michelle’s son Tom was born by emergency caesarean at Mater Mothers’ Private Brisbane weighing 1.3kg. Mater’s Neonatal Critical Care team were ready to provide oxygen to Tom as his lungs weren’t fully developed being premature.

At only seven hours old, Tom was fully ventilated as he had trouble breathing on his own. Both his lungs collapsed and he required four tubes from his tiny chest into his airways to help increase the size of his lungs to help him breathe.

Tom’s collapsed lung also caused a tear resulting in a pulmonary haemorrhage requiring specific hi-flow oxygen helping him breathe without putting extra pressure on his lungs.

Michelle said there were times where it was touch and go, but Mater staff was amazing.

On day seven, Tom started to improve but still required oxygen throughout his two month treatment in Mater’s Neonatal Critical Care Unit (NCCU).

“We couldn't cuddle Tom until he was 12 days old. We didn't get to hold him when he was born so that was the first time apart from 'finger cuddles' when he gripped our fingers,” Michelle said.

“Because of all the chest drains he developed an aversion to handling and there were times we had to stop giving him kangaroo cuddles because it affected his oxygen and heart rate so much.”

“Jason had his first father’s day in hospital and was able to hold him. The nurses were amazing and Mater gave him a father’s day present which was nice,” Michelle said.

As the family were from Redland they would drive back and forth to Brisbane sometimes twice a day depending on what was happening with their other two children at home.

Michelle said leaving her baby in hospital each night was really hard but knew he was in the best hands at Mater.

“The staff were exceptional, not just medically but informing us every step of the way with patience and compassion,” Michelle said.

“It was hard with a baby in NCCU as you can’t have many visitors in the area. Mater staff cared not only for our baby but for us and took time with every patient in NCCU. It takes a special kind of person to do that job.”

“As you’re in hospital a long time you get to know other families in similar situations and you’re all each other’s support network helping when you can. We kept family and friends up to date and they really helped us get through that time with Tom in hospital,” Michelle said.

Prior to going home, Tom was transferred to the Special Care Nursery at his local hospital to stabilise his lungs.

After 90 days, Michelle and Jason were finally able to take their son home where he could sleep in his own nursery.

“When you find out you’re pregnant, you assume you’re going to give birth to a healthy baby and dream about their first words, their first steps and their bright future. Not every family is fortunate enough to deliver a healthy baby and they need all the help and love from the experts at Mater to give them a fighting chance. It felt like we’d never get through it but we feel so blessed to have come out the other side,” Michelle said.

Tom is still receiving follow-up care for issues relating to prematurity but at almost eight months old, Tom is a happy easy going baby with a beautiful nature and is quite adventurous.

“He loves the water and does swimming lessons to improve his muscle tone and coordination.

He isn't talking yet but trying hard to crawl. We are very blessed to have him as he makes us smile every day,” Michelle said.

Michelle and her family are participating in Mater Little Miracles Redland 5ks to help raise funds for premature babies like Tom that require care at Mater’s NCCU.

“Tom wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the amazing Mater doctors and nurses and the facilities that premmie babies need to keep them alive and well. We’re so grateful for everything Mater did and can’t thank them enough,” Michelle said.

Help us raise $1 million this year to make little miracles happen. Visit www.materfoundation.org.au to donate today.

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