This is a story about a brave little lady and her loving mummy and daddy.
Little Ruby Rose was born on 4 May 2013 and was no bigger than a carton of milk. She was born at 32 weeks and weighed 1076g.
Her entrance to the world was scary and dramatic. Her beautiful mother Simone shares her story.
My pregnancy with Ruby was good. I felt fine and was excited to nurture the little person inside me. My husband Jeremy and I could not wait to meet our new little person. Having said that, we never quite imaged how early that would happen!
At 32 weeks pregnant I was working in Dubbo and with the exception of some swelling I felt fairly well. I had experienced an odd headache but put it down to the stress of my job as a solicitor. I had also been diagnosed as having borderline gestational diabetes and thought perhaps it was a side effect of that.
My four week criminal trial concluded early on the Friday so rang my doctor to see if I could see him that afternoon. This was simply for my routine check-up.
My doctor took my blood pressure and looked immediately concerned. He advised me that it was 180/95 but could be due to stress. He then asked me to complete a urine sample to test whether there was protein in my urine.
I was told to drive straight to the hospital. Do not go home. Do not pack a bag. Go straight to the hospital. Now.
I was stunned. 20 minutes ago I was in the waiting room preparing for my routine check-up. I had been thinking about the fact that I was meant to be a bridesmaid in a wedding in Wollongong the next day. Then suddenly everything changed.
I had pre-eclampsia and my baby and I were in danger.
Pre-eclampsia is a life-threatening condition which affects approximately 5-10% of pregnancies in Australia and in 1-2% of those cases it can be so severe it can cause death in both the mother and unborn child.
I attended the Bathurst Base Hospital and by 6.30pm was told I would be air-lifted to Nepean Hospital that night. Not long after, my husband had to leave so he could undertake the two hour trip to meet me at Nepean.
At midnight we arrived at Nepean by helicopter. The following hours were a blur.
I underwent another ultrasound so the doctors could determine the size of our baby and whether it was expected that the baby would viable if born so early.
The doctors advised us to prepare for the worse. It was likely our little one would not survive. She was not growing properly in the womb. She was so small.
I gave my husband directions should I not make it. It was heartbreaking. We discussed names. We still didn’t know if our little one was a boy or a girl but knew we would meet them soon. It was scary, the thought that I might not be able to see our little person. That I too was very ill and maybe would not be going home with my husband.
I was placed under a general anaesthetic and our Ruby Rose was born by caesarean at 4.49am.
Our little girl was 2 pounds and 2 ounces and was 35 centimetres long. But she was a fighter.
Her tiny body required steroids to encourage her lungs to form and she was immediately placed in a humidicrib in the neo-natal children’s ward. She required continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) for 19 hours.
CPAP is where short prongs (or mask) are placed by the baby’s nose and oxygen is blown in at constant pressure. It means Ruby was able to breathe on her own but the machine kept her lungs open in between breaths.
Days passed and she grew stronger.
We spent the first five weeks of her life in Nepean Hospital.
My husband had to continue to work while we stayed in hospital. He would travel down after work and on weekends. He truly was amazing. To continue to work to support our family but still be with us at any chance he got.
After five weeks we then were transferred back to Bathurst Base Hospital. We stayed there for another two weeks.
When we finally took her home she weighed 1890 grams.
Taking our princess home was honestly the best moment of my life. We were finally together as a family.
In August Ruby developed a cold. She had a cough and became lethargic. Her breathing became irregular. As we were visiting family in Sydney we took her to the local hospital at Camden.
I feel so very grateful for the wonderful care we received at Camden Hospital and in particular from the Newborn & paediatric Emergency Transport Service (NETS). NETS safety transports little ones from hospital to hospital whilst still providing superb medical care.
They took our little Ruby to Westmead and placed her on oxygen to help her breathe. We stayed there for one week and spent another week at Bathurst Base Hospital.
Once again Ruby proved to be a tough little fighter.
I honestly believe that having access to state of the art medical care in Australia saved myself and our girl.
The great news is that now Ruby Rose is six months old and meeting all her milestones. She might be small but she is strong. She is a fighter who has an amazing set of parents who will show her the world.
How you can help
Today, Sunday 17 November 2013 is World Prematurity Day and the National Premmie Foundation is trying to raise awareness of preterm birth. Each year 15 million babies are born too soon and approximately 25,000 of them are born in Australia.
World Prematurity Day is about increasing awareness of these little people and remembering the more than one million babies who sadly lose their fight for life.
You can raise awareness by purchasing a National Premmie Foundation candle and lighting it at 7pm in your own home. It is part of their ‘light it up purple’ campaign.
You can find more information about the National Premmie Foundation on their facebook page – National Premmie Foundation
You can also watch the World Prematurity Day Honour video below (featuring gorgeous little Ruby!)
Please donate to the National Premmie Foundation or to NETS through Westmead. It is YOUR donation that gives little champions like Ruby the resources they need to fight the battle for their lives.