Real Life

Real life: Doctors thought my baby was a no.2!

Just take a laxative!

By As told to Take 5

Kirsty Minieri, 35 from Brighton East, Vic, shares her story;

My stomach growled as the delicious scent of roast ham, chicken and vegies wafted up from the table.
"I can't wait to sink my teeth into this," I grinned, rubbing my growing baby bump.
At 25 weeks pregnant, I needed to eat for two.
As I poured gravy over the piles of food on my plate, I knew both bub and I were looking forward to a Christmas feast.
I gorged on the roast, finished off with a classic fruity pavlova, and was so full I didn't eat dinner.
I was still full one day later when my mum and I ventured out to the shops for Boxing Day sales.
By the next morning, I was suffering cramps.
"Ooh," I winced, sitting up in bed.
Cradling my bump, I turned to my husband, John.
"I think something's wrong," I said.
He drove me straight to hospital where a doctor looked me over.
When I told him I wasn't due until April, he raised his eyebrows.
"It's probably just constipation," he shrugged.
My cheeks turned bright red as I nodded.
My first cuddle with our boy was magical.
"I did eat a lot at Christmas," I admitted bashfully.
I popped a laxative in my mouth then we headed home.
But after 30 minutes, the pain hadn't gone away.
Instead, the cramps were worse.
When another sharp pain stabbed through my abdomen I turned to John in shock.
"I think it's the baby," I exclaimed.
John just smiled gently.
"It can't be," he soothed. "Just take another laxative."
My heart raced as I tried to breathe through the pain.
The doc said it was just constipation but the pain was so intense I had to go with my gut.
"Can you just take a look?" I pleaded with John.
John rolled his eyes and lifted up my dress.
His face went white as he grabbed his phone, quickly dialling triple-0.
"My wife's having a baby," he blurted.
Panic raced inside me as John ran around, helping me on to the bathroom floor.
The operator was guiding him but I was terrified.
Our baby was 15 weeks premature and my hubby was going to deliver it!
Flynn at just nine days old.
After a few more minutes of agony I pushed and… a baby boy slid into John's arms.
Tears stung my eyes as I looked at my son for the first time.
My heart raced with fear as I realised he wasn't breathing.
John started CPR, guided by the operator, pumping his chest until the ambulance arrived.
Within minutes they were running into our bathroom, taking over from John.
Our bub still wasn't breathing so a paramedic turned to me grimly.
"It's not looking good," he admitted.
I sobbed as they got to work, doing everything to encourage my boy to take his first breath.
When I saw his chest move I was overwhelmed with relief.
We'd won our first battle.
After a few minutes, he was stable enough to be transported to hospital.
A few hours later, John wheeled me in to NICU.
When I saw our son lying in the humidicrib, covered in tubes, I couldn't control my sobs. I wanted to be happy but I was scared and devastated.
He's such a beautiful smiley boy.
"I love you so much," I choked.
Even though our bub was premature he weighed 990 grams when he was born – nearly double the size of other premmies.
Determined to look on the bright side, I smiled at John.
"What a whopper," I joked. "He actually did me a favour coming early."
Despite our attempts to stay positive, our bub wasn't out of the woods yet.
Unable to develop fully in his short time in my womb, he was diagnosed with chronic lung disease.
John and I had no idea how much time our little boy had, so we quickly decided on a name - Flynn.
The hospital rooms were still covered in tinsel and the nurses were wearing festive shirts but I couldn't muster that level of Christmas cheer.
I spent every minute scared that I would lose my precious boy.
Slowly, he grew and his lungs started to develop.
At 10 weeks old, a doctor approached us about a new stem cell trial.
"We're using cells from human placenta to help repair the lungs of premmie babies," he explained.
Flynn would only be the fourth bub to take part in the trial so there was no guarantee it would help.
This time of year is very special to us.
It was a risk but John and I were willing to try anything.
Besides, the only reason Flynn had survived this long was because other parents who came before us had taken that leap of faith and helped advance the treatment of premmie bubs.
When the IV drip pumped the cells into his little body it was hard not to feel emotional.
He'd been through so much and there was nothing I could do to help him.
A few months later, results showed the trial hadn't affected Flynn's lungs, positively or negatively.
Still, he continued to get stronger each day and, after an agonising seven months, we got to take him home.
Flynn still needs to wear an oxygen mask at night but his lungs are strong enough to carry them through the day.
Even though the trial didn't help him, it was a success and another trial is underway.
With Flynn's second birthday around the corner, this time of year is so special.
With John and Flynn.
He's still not quite old enough to get really excited about Christmas but he smiles every time he sees a picture of Santa.
When Flynn was born 15 weeks early I thought it was the end of the world. But my baby is my Christmas miracle and he's filled my life with joy.

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