This is the story of Logan Miller
Logan was born at 26 weeks and spent 139 days in NICU
Kathryn and Daniel wish to share their story for World Prematurity Day 2018, to help other parents who may be facing a premature birth feel more equipped to deal with what may lie ahead.
Daniel and I spent three years going through fertility treatment before starting Ovulation Induction through Monash IVF. We were ecstatic to find out that we were pregnant in December 2017, perfect timing one week before Christmas.
I experienced a few complications during early pregnancy, including an incompetent cervix which required a cervical stitch procedure. Unfortunately, the 20 week scan showed that the stitch wasn’t holding, and I had to have a second procedure. Shortly after the procedure I was devastated to discover that my waters had broken. I was in absolute shock and all I could think was that he’s way too little, it’s too soon.
I had previously booked in at a local private hospital, but they told me that I needed to go to a major tertiary hospital that was more equipped to deal with an early pre-term delivery. We went straight to the birth suite at Monash Medical Centre and requested to see Dr Peter Neil who was known to us as an obstetrician specialising in high-risk pregnancies.
Peter saw us later that evening and he arranged for my immediate admission to the maternity ward at Jessie McPherson Private (on-site at Monash Medical Centre), and straight away we felt we were in great hands.
The following Monday, at 21 weeks and 5 days pregnant (21+5), Peter told us that we needed to get to 23 weeks and 5 days (23+5) for our pregnancy to be viable. I remember having a countdown calendar on the white board in my room and being completely focused on getting through those fourteen days, marking off each day felt like a huge win.
During my six week antenatal stay, Jessie McPherson became my home. The staff on 51 North became my second family; everyone from the unit manager, the ward clerks and the PSA’s. They celebrated the wins with us. I specifically remember midwife Robyn doing a happy dance when my amniotic fluid results improved. It felt like they were on the journey with us every step of the way.
We did it, we made it to 23+5 and I was given the steroid injections to help Logan’s lungs develop. A neonatologist from Monash Children’s Hospital NICU visited us and went through the worst case scenarios with us. I remember it being a very scary conversation and how fiercely we felt about wanting Logan more than anything. On reflection, I’m grateful that we had this opportunity as it removed some of the shock factor when we saw Logan in the NICU.
At 26+6 weeks I went into labour.
I remember having to wait for the NICU team to arrive before I could push, I didn’t have to wait long. I had amazing support during the birth. I don’t know how I would have coped without Daniel at my side. Ann, my friend and Logan’s Godmother was also there. I remember her hushing everyone in the room so I could hear Logan’s first cry, before he was taken away to be cared for. Such an emotional moment hearing that cry. That was at 9:21pm on the 22 May, exactly three months before his due date. He was born weighing 1.180kg.
Life in the NICU
Whilst I was cared for on the Jessie maternity ward Logan was over at Monash Children’s NICU, only a short walk through the hospital. I visited him as soon as I could early the next day. Seeing tiny Logan surrounded by wires and equipment was very upsetting, but thanks to the neonatologist visit we felt prepared. We focussed on the fact that he was here and he was fighting.
It was a very emotional time, but with the support of our family, we felt strong and that we could get through it. Daniel’s dad gave Logan the nickname Hulk Logan, because we all knew he was a fighter and our amazing little super hero.
We spent 139 days in the NICU
Logan needed to be intubated at birth and nitric oxide was used to help with his lungs. After a month the tube came out and Logan was placed on a form of CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) with high flow oxygen.
He had many blood tests to check for infections and haemoglobin levels. He received two blood transfusions and needed an echocardiogram to check on the condition of his heart due to a valve problem. Brain ultrasounds were carried out to check for bleeds and he required several courses of steroids.
I realise how overwhelming this may sound, but the nurses in the NICU were incredible. They always explained everything calmly and would clarify anything we weren’t sure about. They always got excited when Logan reached his milestones. I can’t speak highly enough of them. They would comfort him when I wasn’t there and I always left knowing he was in the absolute best hands.
The staff and other families in the NICU became my new second family and the sense of community really helped to keep us going.
One of the greatest blessings to come out of our time in the NICU was the wonderful friends we made. We’re looking forward to when Logan can be reunited with his NICU BFF’s, who we share a special bond with. These were the people who picked me up, wiped my tears, and kept me strong.
There were many milestones and mini-celebrations along the way, including our first cuddle at one week old, first bath at four weeks old, open cot and first clothes at six weeks old; and we loved getting out for our first walk and visiting the staff over at Jessie McPherson.
Finally on 8 October, at four and a half months old, we were discharged from the NICU and moved to a paediatric ward. It was very emotional leaving the nurses; everyone loved having Logan cuddles before we left.
Life with Logan
On 28 October we reached another exciting milestone; we were so happy to take Logan out for the day to attend the Walk for Prems 2018. To be able to take part in this event, raising awareness alongside other families on the same journey, felt very special and at the same time made us feel like a normal family out for the day.
Logan is now five and a half months old. He is still being cared for at Monash Children’s Hospital and will be going home on oxygen support.
We are very much looking forward to taking him home for a normal life. We feel so incredibly lucky that we have the opportunity to take him home, even with such a long NICU journey behind us.
We would like to say a special thanks to Dr Peter Neil as without his care, Logan would not be here. We are extremely grateful to Logan’s Neonatologists Risha Bhatia and Damian Gilby and all the staff at Monash Children’s involved in Logan’s care. NICU staff are amazing people they work so hard to care for the most vulnerable and sick babies. A special thanks to the staff at Jessie McPherson who cared for me so well and made my long stay easier.
Hulk Logan, Super Hero, Born 22/05/2018
Follow Logan’s story on Instagram @LoganJMiller18
Find out more about Jessie McPherson Private and learn why we are the safest place to birth for all pregnancies, both high and low risk by booking on a Maternity Tour here.