Jax Craig's story
Hospital: QA Portsmouth
Name: Jax Austin Craig
Born at: 31 weeks
Weight: 4lb 3
NICU Stay: 60 days
I experienced PPROM at 21 +4 weeks whilst at work- My waters went suddenly and with this being my first pregnancy, it came as a huge shock. I knew straight away that something was wrong due to the amount of fluid I was losing. After a quick Google search and call to QA, I somehow managed to drive my self home to collect my pregnancy notes and drive to the hospital. I was unable to get hold of my husband or parents so had to go alone. I was petrified of losing my baby and felt so alone.
Once I got hold of my parents, they arrived just in time for me being seen by a midwife. The midwife I saw was amazing, she was super friendly and kind and I felt she was extremely competent so felt safe in her hands. Her name was Jax (Jackie Davis) and she cannulated me following her observations and I saw a glimpse of my notes with the word sepsis, and knew how serious this could be. A Dr examined me and confirmed PPROM and it was explained to me that it was extremely likely that I would go into labour within the next 48 hours and that given how early on in my pregnancy it was, that the baby would not survive. I can remember shaking uncontrollably, so so scared that our much wanted baby may not make it. I was told that their priority was getting my suspected infection under control, which was done via an IV drip with antibiotics and fluids.
My twin sister arrived (she worked on the maternity ward at QA and had spotted my name on the board with the condition PPROM). I can remember my mum and sister talking and mentioning the word sepsis, they sounded extremely scared and all I could think of was that I was going to miscarry and my baby wouldnt make it. My husband arrived and I was monitored for 48 hours on the labour ward, where regular observations were done. After 48 hours there were no signs of labour and although my fluid levels were extremely low, almost non existent, Baby C still had a strong heartbeat. We were given two options, 1 being to terminate the pregnancy, given that there was a whole list of possible issues and disabilities our baby could be born with due to my waters going so early on in the pregnancy, not to mention a very high risk of miscarriage. The 2nd option was to continue with the pregnancy and once we hit the 24 week mark (classed as viability), we would have regular blood tests to check infection markers and two weekly scans to check the babys growth and fluid levels. We decided that we would go ahead with our pregnancy and deal with whatever the future may hold, as we agreed that if Baby C could fight for survival following this, then we would fight for our baby and be our baby's best advocates.
Another lovely midwife told me that she had seen women make it to 30 weeks, following PPROM, and this gave me so much hope. I took it upon myself to do some research online regarding PPROM as I had never heard of this condition before and I definitely didn't realise there was a chance of a mother not going into labour following their waters going.
I came across an amazing support group on Facebook called Little Heartbeats, recommended to me by a friend of a friend. This group became my lifeline for the next nearly 10 weeks, whilst I was signed off work. The founder of the group is Ciara Curran and through a devestating PPROM loss of her own, she started this amazing group to offer support and guidance to other mothers facing the same situation.
Many hospital admissions and appts came and went with issues such as bleeding and reduced foetal movement. We received steroid shots for Baby C's lungs at approximately 26 weeks, with the last 8 day admission seeing me deliver Jax by planned c section and at my request, following another very scary bleeding episode. I had read the risks of PPROM and knew that placenta abruption was one of them, so I begged the hospital to let me deliver my baby ASAP as I felt my body was failing my baby and I was scared it could end in an emergency situation.
Jax was born at 31 weeks at 9.51pm on 21.09.2018. We heard the most wonderful cry, which had me convinced we had delivered a baby boy, which we had, and then silence. The amazing team of NICU doctors began working on our Son in the corner of the theatre. After what seemed like forever, the doctors paused so we caught a glimpse of our Son before rushing him off to NICU.
After theatre, it seemed like ages before we heard anything. When we did, a doctor named Adam, whom I am forever greatful to, came in to tell us how poorly our Son was and that they were doing everything they could for him but said things were critical. 5 hours or more passed and Adam came back to let us know that our Son was still very poorly but said they had managed to stabilise him. He asked if I wanted to be wheeled down to see him. By this point, my husband had gone home and I was too scared to meet him on my own, which in hindsight, I feel awful about, as he needed me more than ever. I said I would wait a few hours until my husband was back at 9am to visit him together. Adam asked if I would like him to take some photos for me on my phone, which I said yes to. He came straight back with the first 3 photos of my son and explained all the equipment and wires he was hooked up to. They were the most daunting but most beautiful photos I had ever seen and my most cherished photos to date. We were told that his lungs were very premature for his gestation, which was caused by PPROM.
Our Son was resuscitated twice at birth and had a chest drain in for 3 days. He was intubated for 8 days and was given nitric oxide and put on an oscillator ventilator. We were unable to hold him for the first 8 days of his life. He underwent treatment for jaundice, pulmonary hypertension and chronic lung disease. He fought off infections numerous times and made it home at 60 days old, where he spent 10 months on oxygen. He also stopped breathing 5 days after coming home, so had an ambulance ride and a further 5 day hospital stay where we were told he had Bronchiolitis.
Jax has had appts for positional plageocephaly for which we have recently been discharged for. He also has physio appts and a consultant keeping an eye on his talipes, for which he may one day need an operation for.
Our boy Jax continues to amaze us everyday, the odds were stacked against him but he fought from day one and came out fighting at birth. He will always be my miracle baby and there are no words to describe how extremely greatful we are to all medical staff at QA Portsmouth, In both the Maternity Wards and NICU. We owe everything to them, as without their expertise, knowledge and care, we may never have got to bring our baby home.
Our NICU journey brought about anxiety and PTSD issues but over time, things have got easier and our strength as a family continues to grow as we watch our amazing boy thrive.