Cassie and Todd James were expecting their first child when Cassie began to experience unusual symptoms, resulting in Bobby being born six weeks premature.
Primary School Teacher, Cassie, 28, shares their story with us.
Initially our pregnancy progressed with no difficulties, and everything looked promising at the 13 and 20 week scan. At 26 weeks I went on the school camp, as I had done for the last four years.
During the school camp I felt a little off and had very itchy arms, I put it down to the pregnancy eczema and the 75 Grade 3’s I was surrounded by!
After a week of intense itching on my arms, hands and legs, we knew something wasn’t right and made an appointment to see our obstetrician. Blood tests confirmed that I had cholestasis of pregnancy. I received a call at work asking me to immediately make my way to Peninsula Private for admission. The next 48 hours were a blur of blood tests and foetal monitoring.
An ultrasound scan showed that the baby had slipped to the 5th percentile. From that moment things moved very quickly and we were transferred to Dr Shavi Fernando’s care.
There was a range of reasons involved in the transfer of our care. Mainly, the facilities available at Jessie McPherson Private, and being cared for by an obstetrician who was more familiar with high risk pregnancies.
At this point I was 29 weeks pregnant and it looked like our baby would be entering the world imminently, we were in shock. Thankfully, under the wonderful care of Dr Fernando we made it to 33.5 weeks.
It was a very intense four weeks. We attended foetal monitoring 2-3 times a week and saw Dr Fernando every other day.
We were aware that our baby could be severely growth restricted, and may be in need of assistance when born.
We found a whole new level of strength and positivity we didn’t know possible.
We trusted in the healthcare system and that the call would be made when necessary to induce the birth.
Dr Fernando is the calmest person I have ever met, our motto was “If Shavi isn’t stressed, then neither are we” – It served us well.
Choosing an Obstetrician
Our initial obstetrician felt that it would be best to transfer our care to a high-risk obstetrician with access to the facilities we would likely need, and we consider ourselves so very fortunate to have been transferred to Dr Fernando’s care.
Dr Fernando played such an important part in our lives and we hold a special place in our hearts for him and the care he has given our entire family.
We are now expecting our second baby and are thrilled to be able to see Dr Fernando again. We simply would not go anywhere else and could not recommend him enough.
Choosing Jessie McPherson Private
Early in our pregnancy we decided on the hospital that was closest to our home. In hindsight, we should have put more thought into the decision, especially with regards to the facilities. For example we didn’t know that we couldn’t have our baby at the chosen hospital before 36 weeks, let alone where we would go if we had a pre-term birth.
We knew we wanted to go through the private system, Jessie McPherson Private is the perfect solution; private with all the facilities of a large public hospital.
We are booked into Jessie McPherson Private for our second baby, as we feel more comfortable and confident with the facilities that are available.
Bobby arrived on my birthday, six and half weeks premature.
All of the midwives and doctors we dealt with in the birth suite were excellent. However, as our baby’s health was not ideal we didn’t stay there long and headed to theatre for an emergency caesarean.
It was an intense experience as our baby’s health was deteriorating. It was no glamour story, no first cuddles, but our baby was here and getting the best care possible, that was all that mattered.
Bobby was born weighing 1.6kgs and needed help to breathe. He was whisked off for care with paediatrician Dr Jenny Gregor, who continues to be Bobby’s doctor and is another reason why we wouldn’t go anywhere else but Jessie McPherson Private.
After a number of hours in recovery we headed up to the maternity ward, we found all the midwives to be just incredible. It took about 24 hours after Bobby’s birth before we were both well enough to finally meet. It would then be another day or two before that first, beautiful, amazing cuddle.
Throughout all of this Dr Fernando visited every day and the midwives helped endlessly with my milk supply.
Bobby would remain in the Special Care Nursery (SCN) for five long weeks, with many ups and downs. My physical recovery was lengthy, and I found it incredibly emotional leaving my baby every day.
Whilst Bobby was in the SCN, I would arrive in the morning and stay until late in the evening, during this time I would express and feed Bobby and watch his health improve.
Family and friends would come and spend time with us. My husband Todd returned to work so he could take time off once Bobby was able to come home.
We became friendly with other SCN parents, and even see them and their little ones now for playdates. It was important to be able to talk to other parents who understood the pain of having to leave a baby each night.
We waited patiently for Bobby’s health to improve. Coming home was just magical. The day we left the SCN there were tears, photos, big bags of chocolates and lots of thank you cards. We had a lot to be thankful for.
Life with Bobby
We have just celebrated Bobby’s first birthday and are delighted that he is heading towards the 50th percentile.
Bobby loves his music and swimming lessons, watching the family dogs and playing with his blocks.
He still attends specialist appointments. I see this as a positive as it helps us know we are on track. Bobby was recently discharged from a specialist paediatrician because he’s in such good health, it was a wonderful feeling!
Find out more about Jessie McPherson Private and discover why we are the safest place to birth for all pregnancies, both high and low risk by booking on a Maternity Tour here.
Learn more about the condition Cholestasis of Pregnancy here.