Harrison's love for water helps overcome challenges

As told by mum Nicola

At 27 weeks gestation, after 4 hours of complications and many, many, phone calls we were advised to come to the hospital . . .   

“YOUR BABY IS COMING TODAY” were the only words we heard.  David and I looked at each other and our hearts sank.  We were instantly terrified.  Little did we know this was just part and parcel of neonates at Wellington Hospital.

Harrison at birth_0.jpeg

Suddenly forced into the bubble of the neonatal world, we had no idea these men and women were so used to these situations.

Somehow (and luckily) the birth stalled and the specialists managed to administer the medication required to support our babys brain and lungs.  Then at 8.08pm on Friday 29th September 2017, Harrison was born naturally at 27 weeks 3 days gestation weighing in at 1095 grams.  The gratitude we feel towards the team that were there that day is indescribable, there is no way we could ever thank them enough.   

Unfortunately, I have to go into surgery immediately for a retained placenta so David goes with our tiny newborn son to our new 'home away from home', the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). 

For the next 2 days Harry does very well and seems stable, I’m starting to feel a bit better and we’re slowly adjusting to life in a neonatal unit.  Then we are hit with some devastating news.   At 3.00pm 2 days after his birth we are informed of the massive brain damage he has suffered.  Again, our hearts dropped to the floor and our whole world was torn apart.  We were told it was a grade 3 and 4 brain bleed, on both the left and right side.  “What does this mean?” we ask . . .       Medically this will mean (and very rare, in our situation) our baby will be severely compromised.

After a few days, the shock still sinking in, we met with the specialist hospital team and decided to forge ahead with treatment for Harrison.   The best possible outcome being our goal.  Unbelievably, our little monkey proves everyone wrong and defies all odds.   We will never forget the encouragement Dr Harshad Patel, Dr Andrew Parker, Fellow doctors, nurses and staff gave us.

We continue our daily regime, reading book after book to our Harry.  We kangaroo cuddled him, we cried, we loved him and did his cares.  We went home, we cried some more and we came back the next day, over and over again.  He was there and alive in this very special place. He had his nurses who felt like they became part our family.  If you’re reading this as a parent you’re in a safe, amazing place. These people are simply incredible and we always felt like they had Harrys best interests at heart.

We took Harrison home 3 months later, a week before his due date and just before Christmas.  He was still on a feeding tube and since then he has gone from good to great. Harrison.jpeg

While we were still in NICU we booked into swimming classes with Water Babies. If his movement was going to be a challenge then we wanted to be sure we were doing everything to assist him and swimming seemed perfect.

Harrison and his Dad go swimming every Wednesday and Harrison loves to splish and splash and dunk under the water.  The team have been awesome and it's been really great for his confidence.   We really feel like his strength and co-ordination have come a long way since beginning these classes.  It's also been fantastic for bonding with dad too! 

Harrison is now 11 months old and with his birthday is quickly approaching we are continually reminded of how far he has come.  He is thriving in his development, has hit every milestone and continues to guide us with his fierce, cheeky and charming personality.

We simply are the luckiest parents in the world.

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*** Thanks for sharing your story Nicola! ***
We get a lot of positive feedback from families in a neonatal unit who read these stories and feel strength, hope and positivity knowing that they are not alone going through these experiences and feeling certain emotions.
If you would like to discuss sharing the story of your neonatal journey, we'd love to hear from you. Please email info@neonataltrust.org.nz 

 

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Did you know The Neonatal Trust is proud to be supported by Water Babies?Water Babies supports The Neonatal Trust

During the week of 3rd - 9th September 2018 they'll be running a 'Splashathon' for The Neonatal Trust - a fun, themed event where they invite their parents and babies/toddlers to dress in fancy dress and to get sponsorship for their baby/toddler.  There are fantastic prizes on offer for the best dressed baby boy/girl, Mum and Dad and for the families who raise the most money!

You can read more about it on this page

 

 

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Support resources

Kangaroo Cuddles image In Harrisons story above, Mum Nicola wrote about reading to Harrison and having Kangaroo Cuddles.  These are two of the actions parents can take to help their baby in a neonatal unit. 

Reading to your baby is excellent for bonding, and more. Learn about this great practise in our support resource

Also, you can read more about Kangaroo Cuddles and how it helps on this page

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you to The Neonatal Trust's Partners