Mel Andrews

My Activity Tracking

72
kms

My target 20 kms

I'm fundraising for a great cause!

I'm ready to #starttheconversation and join the Walk N Talk!


During the week 19-25th July, I'm joining the Walk N Talk in support of the Australasian Birth Trauma Association (ABTA).

The ABTA is a peer-led community dedicated to helping Australian and New Zealanders prevent and heal from birth-related trauma. The ABTA does this through advocacy, education, research and peer-led support.

1 in 3 Australian women identify their birth as traumatic and research suggests that 10-20% of first-time mothers may suffer major irreversible physical birth trauma. Anyone can experience birth-related trauma including people giving birth, their partner, family and friends and even health professionals. It's likely that you know someone who has experienced birth-related trauma, even if they haven't spoken about it before.

The ABTA is almost entirely funded by donations and I hope to raise vital funds and awareness for them. Your donations will help fund vital programs that better prepare women for birth and help all those impacted by birth trauma towards a better recovery.

For too long women and families have suffered in silence, but the power is in sharing our stories and using our voices so other people don't need to walk this journey alone.

You can help make a difference. Please help by supporting my Walk n Talk #starttheconversation #betterhealing #walkntalk

My Updates

My Story

Thursday 17th Jun

On 8th June 2016 I was booked in for a caesarean section after complications from my first birth, but went into spontaneous labour that morning which resulted in an emergency c-section after 4 hours of labour. 

When my baby was born, he required intubation and ventilation with 10 minutes of CPR and adrenaline. He suffered multi organ failure, Hypoxic Ischaemic Encephalopathy, seizures, hypotension and more. He also needed a blood transfusion and platelet transfusion. Whilst I was still laying on the operating table getting stitched up, we were told to prepare for the worst as things weren’t looking good. I knew something was wrong with him as rather than place him with me, they whisked him away as soon as he was born.

The NETS (Newborn and paediatric Emergency Transport Service) team had to come to stabilise him after crashing and requiring CPR again, before being able to transport him to Royal Hospital for Women in Randwick. My bed was wheeled into the special care nursery before he was transferred, where all I could do was reach out and touch his beautiful little hand. I had to stay behind until the following evening. I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t been able to cuddle my baby. I felt ripped off and wondered why this was happening to our family after having a healthy and uncomplicated pregnancy.

When I finally got transferred the following evening and the drugs were wearing off, this is where it all hit me. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing or hearing. My baby had tubes, wires and drips everywhere, machines were beeping all around me and things were still touch and go. Seeing my helpless baby like this broke me. I spent all my time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) where he was kept in the highest level of care. All I wanted to do was hold him and be told that everything was going to be ok.

After 5 long, tiring days and many tears later, I was finally able to hold my miracle baby who was fighting so hard to be here. He was still on CPAP and still very unwell, but this was a massive step for us, and a moment that I will never forget!  And at 9 days of age, he was able to have his first bath. 

There was talk that I would need to be discharged, but I knew I wasn’t ready to leave my baby behind (who would ever be ready?!) so I kept avoiding the midwives as much as I could. How could I go home when my baby needed me? What if he took a turn for the worse during the night? What if they ran out of my breastmilk and he was hungry? It was close to an hour drive to get to the hospital. Early evening came and they found me and discharged me. I knew I could stay in the NICU next to Flynn’s bed as much as I wanted to, but I had to shower at some stage, right?! They told me he was in the best care possible and that if anything happened that they would call me straight away. Deep down I knew he was in the best place that he could be but driving out of the hospital driveway late that night I felt guilty. I felt like I was leaving my baby and giving up on him. Tears streamed down my face as the hospital made its way out of my sight. How was I meant to sleep while he was so far away from me? 

Morning came and we headed back to the hospital to be there for the morning rounds with the specialists. This was a great day. It was the day of Flynn’s first proper breastfeed! 

After 10 days of pumping and tube feeding it was finally time for us to try breastfeeding. Being able to breastfeed meant that Flynn was able to go long enough without his low flow oxygen – although he did tire quickly it was still another huge step for us. I fed him as often as I could but would still need to express milk for him for when I wasn’t there, or he was too tired to latch onto me. Just two days later Flynn was completely off the oxygen and was able to be moved from level 3, the highest level of care, down to level 2. 

Flynn was 13 days old when we got the news that he could be transferred to a closer hospital, only 20 minutes from our house, and stay in their Special Care Unit (SCU). We were so excited that he had come this far and was another step closer to coming home with us. What a long day it was though as we needed to wait until early evening when the Doctors did their evening rounds and were happy to discharge him. When I saw the transport team walk through that door to get him strapped into the huge car seat, I was excited but scared at the same time. He was leaving a team of amazing nurses and doctors that had all the equipment and resources they needed if something were to go wrong. 

We arrived at the hospital and the nurses were great and put my mind at ease. We could stay with Flynn for as long as we liked. They told me that our goal was to get Flynn breastfeeding for every feed throughout the day for a decent amount of time, and once that was established, he would be able to come home. This meant that once again we made our trip into the hospital early each day to be there for the morning rounds and would stay until after the night rounds. When Flynn napped that’s when we would walk down the street for lunch or a cuppa – there was finally a bit of normality returning to our lives. 

On the 27th June we could bring Flynn home. It was now the most exciting day we’d had in the last three weeks. When we got him home we then had to figure out our own routine and adjust to those sleepless nights. Flynn was still on 

phenobarbital for his seizures which we had to administer every day until he was 4 months old. That was another scary time for us as we didn’t know if he’d start having seizures again after coming off it – thankfully he hasn’t had any since leaving hospital. 

The following 2 years Flynn had appointments every few months with the neurologist, nephrologist, paediatrician and physiotherapist. He still needs to get a renal ultrasound every 12 months as well as follow ups with the paediatrician, but the neurologist and physio have been happy and no longer need to see him. Flynn’s kidneys are smaller than they should be, but they are working well enough at the moment for the specialists to not be too concerned. 

Flynn is now a typical 5-year-old boy that you wouldn’t know had a rough start to life. Whilst we won’t know until he’s older if there are any long-term effects that will hold him back from certain jobs or sports, right now he is meeting all his milestones and will be starting kindergarten next year. 

I count my lucky stars every day that Flynn is here with us and I am thankful for the wonderful care that he received.

Thank you to my Sponsors

$10.50

Aaron Andrews

$10

Mel Andrews