Story By Briana
My premature baby story starts like this my pregnancy, my first pregnancy, was a normal low-risk pregnancy. All ultrasounds were normal, all checkups were fine, I was loving being pregnant and bonding with my little man like all pregnant mums do.
My plan was to finish work at 34 weeks to enjoy my maternity leave lots of nesting at home, relaxing by watching plenty of movies, just laying on the couch like a whale!!!
So I finish work as planned on the Friday, feeling great and messaging my friends about how I could work another week or two as I was feeling that great…………
Then at 2am Saturday morning, my waters break!!! Initially, I thought I had just peed my pants while sleeping so didn’t take it too seriously, but then realised it wasn’t wee and then I started to freak out a bit. There I was pacing the hallway thinking this can’t be happening and surely not 34 weeks is too early. I decided to wake my husband (and he was working early mornings that week so he was absolutely exhausted) and told him my waters had broken so we called the hospital to see what we should do.
Obviously, we had to go in to have a check-up, and according to them, my waters had broke, but I wasn’t in labour. Seeing as the hospital didn’t take premature baby cases I was transported to King Edward Memorial Hospital.
Fast forward almost seven hours after my waters break, and Richard Jack Sacker was born. A natural birth, he was whisked away by the paediatrician soon after a quick cuddle by mum. I found out over a year later that the doctor told my husband to take as many photos as possible as it was touch and go for a while after Richie was born. There I was, not really believing what had just happened, still thinking that we were still going to our parenting class that day, and here I was a mum!!!
Richie was in NICU for 9 days, mostly on CPAP, but for a day or two was on a ventilator, quite jaundiced but mainly struggling to breathe on his own. To be honest, I never knew what to expect, many questions were running through my mind.
How long will Richie be on CPAP? How long will he be in the hospital? When can he breastfeed or bottlefeed? Looking back we had no idea what having a premature baby meant and all the questions we should have asked.
I was an emotional wreck for the first two weeks, partly hormones, also because I felt I wasn’t a real mum as I couldn’t show off my little man to the world (I also planned my baby shower for 35 weeks so I still had my baby shower while Richie was in NICU and had lots of hospital photos on the table of him). Plus I was having trouble expressing milk for Richie and it was a stressful time, safe to say it was a tiresome, stressful, hormonal time and I just didn’t know what to do or what to expect!
In the end, Richie was in NICU for 9 days, in Special Care for just under three weeks after that- he was discharged on his 4 week milestone. Now he is a thriving three-year-old boy, who has made all development milestones so far, albeit a bit short and skinny (but my husband and I are small people so Richie didn’t have a chance anyway 🙂 )
Since this situation, I have decided to help other premmie families by becoming a volunteer for Tiny Sparks WA. Western Australia’s premier charity supporting women with high-risk pregnancies and babies that are born premature or sick.
Tiny Sparks is a 100% volunteer run organisation with all funds raised going back into our programs which include bed rest and neonatal unit care packages, peer to peer support, and developmental playgroup.
In November, we seek to raise awareness for all babies who are admitted to neonatal units, not just premature babies, during what we have termed Neonatal November.
Coinciding with Tiny Sparks WA’s 5th birthday, is our key event for Neonatal November which will be our FREE Family Fun Day on World Prematurity Day at Bardon Park, Maylands on Saturday, November 17 from 10am to 2pm. We invite the entire community to come together in recognition of the day and celebration of ‘Neonatal November’. Whilst this is a FREE event we would appreciate you registering. Those who register will be eligible for an event show bag (one per family, while stocks last) and also go in the running for an event door prize drawn on the day.
For more information about Tiny Sparks and our events, please visit our website, facebook page or instagram