Miracle Mum Rebecca writes, ‘This is my story. There is a world out there that I never knew existed until I entered it.’
My husband and I completed 14 rounds of IVF to fall pregnant with our babies. The overwhelming joy we experienced when we got to 20 weeks was amazing. Walking into our 20-week scan, it was the first time I was really relaxed about seeing our beautiful twins. I cannot begin to explain how happy we were to find out we were having twins after being through so much heartbreak and loss throughout our IVF journey, and to know we were having a boy and a girl, our family was complete.
At 3 am, 24 +1 weeks pregnant, my waters broke and my world changed forever. My life now revolved around this unknown and not really spoken about the world of NICU. Despite their size and the fact that they didn’t look as you expected a baby to look, Bailey and Zane were my cute little babies. They only weighed 698grams and 696grams. I wasn’t allowed to hold my babies. Bailey’s first cuddle was not for over 6 weeks. To only look at your baby through a glass incubator and not be able to feel or hold them after you have wanted them so long, is heartbreaking.
The first 2 weeks were chaos. Bailey had so many MET calls as she continually stopped breathing, but she kept coming back to us. She was very determined. Then on day 14 our worlds broke forever as Troy and I were ushered into a small office with many doctors, nurses and social workers I couldn’t count. Somehow I held my composure even though I was dying inside as they told me that my little baby boy, Zane, was not going to make it. He had a severe bleed on the brain. That night was like a whirlwind. From having a priest baptise both babies, as we still did not know if Bailey was going to make it or not, to have my first and only cuddle of Zanie. Hearing him trying to breathe and fight to stay with us, but knowing he was not going to be able to. That was the best and worst night of my life, to finally be able to hold him but knowing I had to let him go.
Bailey’s journey was very difficult. She needed open heart surgery at 4 weeks old, she was ventilated for over 76 days and needed 3 rounds of steroids to get her off the ventilator. As well as many infections to overcome and numerous other issues over her NICU journey. There were also so many lows in the NICU. Grieving the loss of a child and having the ‘typical’ birthing experience that you see others have taken from you. The difficulty in seeing your child in pain from numerous procedures daily and knowing there is nothing you can do to stop the pain and make it better as the things being done was necessary for recovery. It is heartbreaking to watch and makes you feel helpless.
Bailey was such a determined fighter, she eventually came home after nearly 7 months in the hospital. I would love to say that once she was home it was smooth sailing, but that definitely wasn’t the case. There have been numerous complications over the years that we have worked very hard to get through. But now, 5 years on, she is doing amazingly and we are so proud of her.
We then began IVF again, and after 4 rounds we fell pregnant. That pregnancy was very, very complicated. I lost count of the number of times we all thought we had lost the baby. I was in the hospital more than I was out and it was scary and nerve-racking, to say the least. I knew what it meant to have another premature baby. At 29 weeks, I went into labour and my uterus ruptured. To quote my surgeon, it was a ‘catastrophic rupture’, if Levi and I had not of been on the operating table when it happened we would both have died, as we would have bled out so fast that nothing could have saved us. I saw Levi as they rushed him out of the room. He weighed 1.2kilograms. On one hand, I was crying because I was so happy, but at the same time, I was once again devastated that a ‘normal birthing experience’ was taken from me. Why couldn’t I be one of those mums down the hall who have all their friends and family come visit them and the baby? Why did I have to experience NICU not once, but twice? That was a hard pill to swallow.
Levi had his up’s and downs I didn’t get to hold him for over 2 weeks. The first week he was too unstable, followed by me having an infection for a week so was not allowed near my baby in fear of him or other babies getting sick. Having Levi was a different experience than the twins. The guilt was there more so, as I now had to split my time between my daughter at home who was only 2 and still needed my help with her development and my son who was premature and in hospital. It was a hard feeling and no matter where I was, at home or hospital I felt the other was missing something. Levi came home when he weighed 2kilograms. It was still 5 weeks before his due date he came home. Two days later he was back in the hospital with an infection in PICCU for another 2 weeks. He is now 3 years old and kicking goals we are also so proud of him.
Having experienced the roller coaster of having two pregnancies end in premature birth and the loss of one baby, I am determined to raise money and awareness for the cause to help prevent another family going through the overwhelming experience we did. Charities like Miracle Babies Foundation help support family’s going through similar experiences through support services, resources, research and advocacy. If we can even help prevent one baby from enduring the tubes that are put down their little throats so they can breathe, the tubes being put up their noses or down the back of their throats to eat, the lumbar punctures without pain medication, the constant blood tests when their veins are so fragile they need to do prick after prick to get a vein and all the other things that go on, on a daily basis to save their lives, it is worth it. To stand by and watch helplessly as your child endures pain when there is nothing you can do it fix it or to sit there while you hold your child and hear the cries of other babies is gut-wrenching. If we can help even one baby and family, I am so grateful!
Bailey is 7 years old now and in Grade 1 at school. She is loving it and it’s so good to see her having fun and making new friends. Levi is 4 years old and just started Kinder this year. He can’t wait to follow his big sister to school next year! As parents, we are so proud to see them doing so well and learning new things every day.
Rebecca and her husband Troy of Love It Landscaping have organised a night of dancing, auctions and raffles at Crown Towers in Melbourne on Saturday 16th March, to raise much-needed funds for premature and sick newborns supporting Miracle Babies Foundation.
Purchase your tickets here:
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