Tahnae’s Story

If it weren’t for the incredible team at Fiona Stanley Hospital and the Australian leading research, neither of our children would be here today.

When I look at my children’s smiling faces, I can’t imagine what life would be like without them. I try not to take any moment we have together for granted. I know how close we came to losing both of them.

My husband Anthony and I never thought we’d actually be able to have children. So, when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter Ava, I was over the moon. I imagined our perfect family life together. I never imagined anything would go wrong. And then, suddenly, we were in hospital, watching our newborn baby girl fight for her life.

Ava wasn’t breathing when she was born and needed immediate resuscitation. She was severely anaemic. We later found out there was a tear in the placenta, and she’d been bleeding out for a long time. Fluid all looks the same on an ultra-sound, so we had no idea anything was wrong. Without the expert care of the staff at Fiona Stanley, we would have lost her.

After our experience with Ava, I was nervous when I found out I was pregnant again. But I told myself this time would be different. My second pregnancy seemed a lot better. Logan was always wriggling around and kicking, which was a very reassuring. I thought we were out of the woods. I finally stopped worrying and allowed myself to look forward to the day we’d welcome another little one to the family.

Then, one morning I woke up and realised something was wrong. I was 36 weeks pregnant and used to waking up five times a night. That night, I’d had the best sleep of my life. But, when I woke up, I immediately noticed there was no movement at all. I went to my doctor and she sent me straight to Fiona Stanley Hospital.

In the car ride over, Anthony was desperately trying to reassure me that everything was going to be ok. He thought we’d have a quick check-up and be sent back home. But I knew I’d be having the baby that day. After a few checks, our doctor came back into the room. He didn’t have to say anything, his posture and actions said it all. I was rushed into surgery for an emergency caesarean. When I woke up, I instinctively looked around for my baby. Then I saw the look on Anthony’s face. I don’t think either of us could quite believe we were back here again.

Once again, my baby had been taken away from me before I got a chance to hold him. We found out Logan had also suffered a bleed and his brain had been starved of oxygen. He’d been rushed to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to begin lifesaving cooling treatment.

The doctors explained that lack of oxygen to the brain produces acidity which can shut down other parts of the body – like a cake that has small bites all over it! They had put Logan on a cooling mat which dropped his body temperature to 32-34C. We were told it was Logan’s best chance at avoiding permanent brain damage.

Even though I knew it was the best thing for him, it was incredibly hard watching my baby boy on that cooling mat. His fingers and toes were all curled up and he was shaking. It’s the exact opposite of the way you want to see your new baby. It took everything I had not to scoop him up in my arms and run out the door with him.

The cooling device looks like a big air-conditioner. It’s connected to a baby mat that’s cooled and heated. After 72 hours, the cooling stage was over. It then took another 12 hours to slowly heat Logan back up again. You could see immediately how much he loved the warmth. His little toes uncurled and his whole body started to relax.

It’s a bit of a waiting game now, to see how Logan develops. But we’ve got every reason to be hopeful. We’ve seen how much it’s helped Ava. You’d never know now that she went through what she did. Most people don’t believe us when we show them the photos of her hooked up to a million wires. I was amazed when I learnt the cooling procedure research is led by Dr Shail Mehta and the team here at Fiona Stanley Hospital along with many other Aussie hospitals, to improve the safety and application of the brain cooling procedure to save more babies.

And I was even more amazed to learn that research like this is only possible thanks to community support. My two beautiful children wouldn’t be here without it.

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