But at only 20 weeks gestation Rebecca ruptured her membranes leaving only a small amount of fluid in her womb – a condition which affects around five per cent of pregnant women.
Her unborn baby had only a 20 per cent chance of survival.
Rebecca was monitored closely under the care of Mater Mothers’ Maternal Fetal Medicine Unit with regular scans to see clearly how her baby was progressing.
Her baby boy Oliver seemed to be growing at the normal rate until 27 weeks gestation when his heart size was bigger than his chest, a condition called Pulmonary Hypertension which caused his chest cavity to collapse.
Rebecca was given steroids for Oliver in-utero to help his lungs grow and hopefully help him continue to full term. She was also given medication to protect herself from infections she could to pass onto him.
While most mothers would be planning their baby showers and nurseries in this time, at only 30 weeks gestation Rebecca experienced bleeding so she was admitted to Mater. It wasn’t long until Oliver was delivered prematurely at Mater Mother’s Hospital on 5 March 2014 weighing only 1492 grams.
“I saw Oliver for a second to hear him cry and cut the umbilical cord. Then he was rushed to the ventilation machine to help him breathe.”
Oliver was sent straight to Mater’s Neonatal Critical Care Unit for specialist care.
“I remember one night Oliver took a turn for the worse in intensive care and the nurses asked us to come down to be with him. He had drains in his chest to help his breathing but because of this his heart rate slowed down and his blood pressure dropped. It was a very scary time but thankfully the Mater team could stabilise him and the next day things started to look up,” Rebecca said.
“Because we didn’t know what was going to happen we left designing the nursery until we knew we could bring him home. It’s not something a parent should ever have to experience,” Rebecca said.
“Dr Luke Jardine and the Mater team of specialists and nurses were amazing. We just took each day minute by minute, hour by hour. We felt very supported as you have no idea what to expect with a premature baby,” Rebecca said.
After nine weeks in hospital, Rebecca and Daniel took Oliver home – just in time for Mother’s Day.
“It’s been a long journey including daily trips to Brisbane for our family but we knew he was in the best care possible at Mater getting stronger all the time,” Rebecca said.
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