So – we moved into Magoos house in Canberra, and we were there for exactly 3 days before we went to meet Dr M, the Specialist at the Ante-natal clinic on Tuesday morning. Magoo and I eagerly awaited the appointment. We wanted to know that everything was going to be alright.

I was questioned about the pregnancy and the hemorrhage that had occurred just a few nights earlier. When Dr M, questioned me about the pressure I felt down low in my belly, he decided to do a physical examination right then and there and upon completion he asked if my other children could be cared for by someone other than myself. Magoo said, “of course…. why?”

“I think the fetus has engaged very low down in the birth canal, and although the waters haven’t yet broken, you are in danger of delivering prematurely any time from now. I believe you should stay here in the hospital until the end of your pregnancy.”

I was absolutely shocked at this news. I figured the pressure was just soreness from the abruption of my placenta, which had caused the bleeding. I hadn’t thought that my baby could be well on his way down the birth canal and threatening to be born any minute. There was no labor pain or cramping, just pressure? Dr M discussed the logistics with us, and it was decided that I should be admitted immediately. An ultrasound was scheduled for early the next day, so we could see exactly what was happening down there.

My boys were with Magoo’s husband, back at the house. I can remember being really worried what they would think when “Nanna” returned home without Mummy. I was able to call them later that night from my bedside and tell them that Mummy was ok, and she had to sleep at the hospital because their baby brother was “sick” in my tummy. They were happy and fine without me, I knew they were in good hands with Magoo, but I missed them terribly. Being in a city hospital was very different than our own local hospital. So much bigger. But it was nice, clean and the staff were very friendly. I was expected to rest in bed and not even get out to use the toilet. Which I felt was a bit extreme. For the first night I put up with it though, and the next day requested to be allowed to use the bathroom and shower. It was agreed as my bleeding had stopped completely overnight.

My ultrasound was the next hurdle. I waited anxiously. I remembered James every minute, and kept thinking that they were going to not be able to find a heartbeat, or that there would be more fetal bands from the bleeding. There had been a lot of fetal monitoring throughout the night, and my baby’s heartbeat was loud and clear, but I still worried that the ultrasound would show something terribly wrong. I began to prepare myself for bad news. Magoo came in at lunchtime with my boys, and I was overjoyed to see them. 5 took a running jump from the doorway onto my bed, causing everyone to freeze with concern as he landed on my belly! Poor little mite was only 2, he didn’t know to be especially careful with his mummy. 3 was calmer, and stood back grinning from ear to ear at me as Nanna and Grandad scolded 5 for jumping up on me. I gathered 5 in my arms and explained to him that he had to be gentle with mummy’s tummy now. He understood, and his beautiful big brown eyes looked so concerned. I will never forget how it felt to be sitting in that hospital bed, knowing that my poor little man had to do without me for god knew how long I would be in hospital. It broke my heart. Nanna and Grandad were very caring, but very old school and strict. I wondered how my wild little buddy would cope?

As is the case in most hospitals, what they say will happen often happens long after. They eventually came to wheel me down for the ultrasound around 4pm that afternoon……..and it was kind of funny.

As I have explained many times, I knew I was having a boy. I’d never had it confirmed, not in any of my pregnancies. I just somehow knew. So when the ultrasound technician got underway, he asked me if I wanted to know the sex of the baby. It went something like this….

“So do you know what you’re having?”

“Yes. A boy.”

“Oh, so you’ve had an ultrasound to determine that already have you?”

“No.”

“Well then how do you know what you’re having?”

“I just know. I knew with all my boys.”

“Oh, okay, well lets just see if I can confirm that for you then.”

“Okay, thanks. Usually I don’t really want to know for sure. I kind of know already, but I guess it would be nice to know without a doubt. He will be my last baby after all.”

“OH? Not planning any more then?”

“No. I couldn’t go through this again. Nor would I put my family through it again. This is it. Whatever will be will be. But I think he’s going to be ok. I think he’ll survive?” Up until this point it was a very friendly conversation we were having back and forth. Then suddenly this…

“Um, I hate to tell you that you’re wrong, but I reckon this is a baby girl.”

“Nope. Have another look….” I replied. I wasn’t being “smart”, I just didn’t believe him. Of course I had hoped for a girl, at some stages in each of my pregnancies I longed for a girl. But not this time, not after James. I wanted, no I needed another little baby boy.

“I don’t know how you could lay there and argue with me Missy! Where are your 6 years of medical training? Huh? Just exactly who do you think you are to question this very advanced technology? You are having a girl.”

“Umm I’m sorry, I don’t mean to upset you or tell you how to do your job at all. I have no medical training. BUT I’m pretty sure I’m having a baby boy!” At this stage I was chuckling quietly to myself. What a loser this dude was, getting all high-horsey on me. But what if I was wrong, I thought. . “Just have one more look, please?” I asked this of him very timidly.

“There. You see it’s a Gi……!” He reddens quickly. “Oh there it is. It is a boy…..How did you know?” Looks at me somewhat suspiciously, like maybe I chant around a cauldron with my coven at night….

I went easy on him. Told him that I’d known with each of my boys, and that I had no reason to doubt my intuition this time. To give him credit, although he didn’t apologize for his little uppity rant, he did smirk and let it be known that he was wrong, and I was right, and all was cool between us again.

What really surprised me was what he said next. After all that crap about the sex of my baby, the real situation was now being laid out for me. The baby seemed fine. He had restricted womb space as I was apparently contracting regularly. I couldn’t feel the contractions. I felt a bit “crampy”, but nothing really noticeable, so this was news to me. He also pointed to a huge ball of dark matter. It was situated low down in the birth canal, between the baby and the outside world. This, was a blood clot. Estimated to be about the size of an orange, it was significantly bigger than my baby looked on the screen.  The forming of this clot was what stopped me from miscarrying the night of the hemorrhage. This “clot” was a life saver! It remained to be seen, just how long the clot could remain blocking the entrance, and stopping my baby from being born early.

I had no shortage of information while I remained in hospital. I was seen daily by my Specialist and told very early the next morning exactly what my chances of delivering a live healthy baby were. The worst case scenario was that he would be born immediately, and wouldn’t have much chance of survival. A 21 to 29 week fetus faces all the challenges you can think of. Most importantly before 29 weeks, the baby has not developed “surfactant”, a substance vital for the infant to breathe. This stops the lungs from sticking together, and collapsing when your baby first breathes. My best hope was to hang in for the longest possible stay in hospital before my baby was born.

I was given a tour of the N.I.C.U, (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit), and met the staff who would be caring for my baby after he was born. It was incredible. There are 3 bays in the NIC, Bay 1 being for the most acute care, Bay 2 being for less acute cases and Bay 3 is where the babies go when they are in minimal danger, just waiting to put on weight and go home. I wandered through all the bays and saw some amazing, miraculous things. A tiny baby girl, born at 25 weeks and no bigger than my hand from heel to tip of finger. She was tiny. About as long as a coke can, but much thinner. These tiny babies are little miracles just to be surviving after birth. She was the smallest baby there, and sadly she didn’t live much longer than 27 weeks. I remember the day she died. All the nurses had red eyes. That little blossom had fought so hard for life!

The NIC unit was a real eye opener. The staff explained to me that 6 would probably be born and go straight into Bay 1, then depending on his issues and prematurity would be transferred to Bay 2 where he would spend the majority of his time in NICU. It would probably be months before he would be able to go home with me. Everything I was told was sinking in, I was mentally preparing myself for the fight not only to keep him inside me for the longest time, but also for the fight for life that would occur after he was born. We all underestimated my baby boy. He was truly a miracle. We eventually nick-named him “the cat on the screen door”. He just hung in there!

Just hang in there.....

Just hang in there…..

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