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16 Aug 2017
Mater’s new Pregnancy Assessment Centre
For as long as Tebony can remember, she wanted to be a mother and experience the highs and lows that come with being a parent.
Six years ago, Tebony and her husband Lincoln decided to plan for a baby and it wasn’t too long after that she found out they were expecting their first child. Their excitement built each week and they couldn’t help but imagine the joy their baby would bring them.
But at nine weeks, Tebony was rushed to Mater Private Hospital Brisbane’s Emergency department.
Tebony had a scan where no heartbeat was found.
“My husband and I were so upset and disappointed that we had lost our baby girl. It’s the worst feeling in the world,” she said.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t the end of the tragedy for the couple—Tebony went on to have a further two miscarriages at only five weeks.
It’s standard practice in Australia for pregnant woman who experience issues before 20 weeks, to present to an emergency department, just like Tebony did.
However, Mater Mothers’ Hospitals has committed to changing the course of patient care for pregnant women by opening Queensland’s first 24/7 Pregnancy Assessment Centre, which is now open for all women experiencing complications from day one of their pregnancy to six weeks after birth.
The centre provides a unique service that is not commonplace across Australia, however incredibly important and reassuring for expectant mothers like Tebony.
“The care I received at the emergency department at Mater was brilliant, but I wasn’t treated by a specialised obstetrician or midwife which gives you more peace of mind. From an emotional point of view, obstetricians and midwives are experienced in dealing with women who have had miscarriages and know the sensitivities around them.
“When you are in the situation where you suspect something is wrong with your baby at that early stage, you are in a panic and don’t really know where to go to seek assistance.
“Knowing there is a specialised facility that’s open to everyone 24/7 gives me so much comfort. When it’s 2 am in the morning, being able to pick up the phone and talk with a midwife and be reassured and have questions answered is invaluable for any expectant mother,” she said.
As time passed and the grief became easier for the couple to bear, the couple knew they wanted to try for another baby, and in 2015 they were blessed to be expecting a baby boy.
“You can’t help but be nervous, however we remained positive that things would be different this time,” Tebony said.
Devastatingly, this wasn’t the case.
At 23 weeks Tebony’s membrane ruptured at 1 am while at home. Her husband rushed her to Mater where she was monitored and put on bed rest.
During a scan two weeks later, Tebony was given the most devastating news, that her baby had developed hydrocephalus.
“Words can’t describe how distressing this was for us. We knew he was a little smaller than what he should be and we were hoping the fluid would regenerate in my uterus so we could wait a few more weeks.”
“I spent the next few days in the comfort of our home and it was here that he passed away.”
It was close to 27 weeks when Tebony was admitted to Mater Mothers’ Private Hospital to be induced and on 2 February 2016 their baby boy Samuel was delivered stillborn, weighing only 860 grams.
“This was the most confronting thing possible but the support I received from the midwives and pastoral carers at Mater was truly incredible. They are our angels.
“I got to hold Samuel and photos and footprints were taken so we always have these special memories.”
The Pregnancy Assessment Centre was only realised thanks the generosity of Mater Foundation supporters who contributed $1 million to the project. Tebony is one of them.
“When I heard that a 24/7 Pregnancy Assessment Centre was being built at Mater I just had to support it and rally my friends and family to do the same,” she said.
Tebony and Lincoln are taking each day as it comes while they continue to grieve for their losses but they remain positive for what the future holds—one they hope will include a healthy baby.
Every ticket you purchase in the Mater Prize Home lottery helps to keep Mater at the forefront of medical research and patient care; ensuring vital 24/7 services such as the Mater Pregnancy Assessment Centre are available at all hours for patients like Tebony.
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