An unexpected Mother’s Day gift

An unexpected Mother’s Day gift

Little Jack was born at 28+1 weeks on 20 April 2016, weighing 1250 grams. Mater mum Amy shares the story of Jack’s arrival.

It all started on a Monday as I was about to start my 12 hour nursing shift across the road at Mater Private Hospital Brisbane. I had been feeling stomach cramps that morning but couldn't pin point the cause. Being a nurse I thought everything would pass and I would be fine. I never thought it possible I would introduce him into this world only four days later.

Thankfully, my mum also works at the Mater and she came over to take me to the Pregnancy Assessment and Observation Unit. She insisted on taking me in a wheelchair which was mortifying as I thought they would laugh at me saying it was all Braxton Hicks contractions. After being assessed by my obstetrician they came to the conclusion I was in early labour and needed to keep this baby inside me as long as I possibly could. I was given all the possible medications to increase Jack’s chances if I was to deliver that night, including magnesium, steroid and also my whooping cough vaccination which I was booked to get at the GP the next day! That plan changed.

Everything was happening so quickly and even the doctors couldn't predict what Jack was going to do. Thank goodness my mum was by my side as my whole world was being turned upside down. My husband came straight from work to hospital and also provided much needed support.

Over the next two days I was transferred to and from the birthing suite four times as my contractions started to increase but then settled down.

I went from having the expectation on Monday to be reassured and go home, to being told I would have to spend up to 10 weeks on bed rest, which at the time I thought would be horrific, to then being told the baby was coming and then back to best rest.

On Wednesday, Jack decided today was the day he was ready to meet the outside world.

After labour Jack was taken from me straight away to a room full of wonderful specialists who could give him the best fighting chance to survive. Thankfully my husband was able to stay with Jack the whole time—it was so important for me that he had somebody there with him. My mum was with me throughout delivery and helped me back to the postnatal ward.

Shortly after, I was able to see Jack down in the Neonatal Critical Care Unit (NCCU) with all his attachments. You could never prepare for seeing your baby for the first time in NCCU. My mother always told us about maternal instinct and mother nature, but I never really understood what that feeling would be like. You suddenly have so much love for this extremely tiny baby and to see these nurses looking after him when you can't is really heart breaking.

I'm not sure if it's harder when you’re a nurse yourself or if it's the same for everyone—I can't compare. As nurses we are such in control people, especially when coming from a high dependence surgical ward. I look after people every day and now a stranger is looking after and nursing my baby.

The nurses and midwives in NCCU are the most amazing individuals. The amount of relief I get just from a smile in the morning; I know another lovely kind person is looking after the most important person to me.

On the third day the nurses encouraged me to start kangaroo care. I had never been so nervous and arranged to hold Jack at 7 pm. When I came from the ward that night the nurse had Jack all ready and the chair waiting for me. It is so reassuring when the nurses are so encouraging for the mothers to do as much as they feel comfortable doing. This shows the mums that they can still provide lots of care for their babies and they do have some control. Kangaroo cuddles are so important for the babies but also illustrate something that only the parents can really provide to the babies.

Looking back to before Jack was born, I was at home making a joke to my husband about Mother’s Day, saying I was expecting a present since I was an expectant mother! Never in a million years would I have thought that on this Mother's Day I would be sitting beside his isolette. Not only now do I expect a present this Mother's Day but I can be there for Jack this year and in future he can be there for me.

Jack was the best Mother's Day present I could ever want and I will be spending Mother’s Day close by his side. 

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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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