Your Story: Thank you to LBH maternity nurses
I WRITE to you as my six week old boy sleeps on my chest and I think of the fact that he wouldn't even be born yet, based on his due date.
My son was born prematurely, seven weeks early, weighing just 5 pound, 4 ounces.
At 31 weeks of pregnancy I suffered a hemorrhage and premature rupture of waters, due to Placenta Previa (when the placenta covers the cervix).
We spent two anxious weeks in hospital, hoping our baby would stay put, and after two weeks I was sent home with orders of bed rest.
Just days after arriving home, I hemorrhaged again and was rushed to Lismore Base Hospital by ambulance. Labour was progressing fast and an hour later our son was born by emergency caesarean.
It was the most terrifying experience of my life, but the nurses held my hand and talked me through it, ensuring that no undue trauma came to me or my baby.
They told me everything was going to be okay.
After my son was born, the surgeon held him up and my partner was able to cut the umbilical cord and in an instant my son was taken away to the Special Care Nursery.
I was anxious to see him, but needed to wait until the epidural had worn off in order to move my legs.
I was in too much pain to walk, so a kind nurse took me to see him in a wheelchair.
When I got there, he was in a humidicrib incubator with tubes in his nose helping to keep his oxygen levels up and was attached to machines that monitored his breathing.
I couldn't hold him yet, but they let me reach through the little door in the incubator and hold his tiny hand.
The next night his condition worsened and he stopped breathing.
He was resuscitated and taken by helicopter to the Gold Coast University Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
As you can probably imagine I was very emotional, having not slept in over two days, recovering from surgery and trying to stay strong for our little boy.
The nurses went above and beyond making sure we were informed and supported during this time.
We spent a couple of weeks at GCUH, sleeping in the chair next to his incubator and in the Ronald McDonald House next door.
When he was strong enough we were transferred back to Lismore Base Hospital where he spent a few more weeks gaining weight and learning to breathe and feed without support.
The staff at Lismore were amazing and helped make our experience there that bit easier.
They taught me how to care for our son while he was attached to machines and they held me when things seemed too difficult to handle.
They arranged for my partner and I to stay, at no cost, in Laurel Cottage a short distance away from the hospital so that we didn't have to drive from Ballina every day and could spend more time with our son.
On Christmas day I woke to photographs, taken by the nurses caring for our little boy.
He was dressed up and laid in a Santa sack and when we arrived at the nursery there was a present addressed to us from our son.
In the package was a beautiful handmade quilt from the Our Kids Foundation and some hand cream.
During our time at LBH, the nurses told me how hard things were, having lost equipment and space during the roof collapse and how they were trying to keep the ward running efficiently without sacrificing the comfort of their patients.
Some people have had difficult experiences recently, but I don't know what I would have done without the amazing people who work at the Lismore Base Hospital.
It is thanks to these people that our son is now at home, safe and healthy.