When James was born at Calvary Hospital, he had an APGAR of 0 (out of 10) and was blue and floppy. Seeing him like that was the single scariest thing I’ve ever experienced in my life.

He required CPR and breathing support for 5 minutes before his heart started beating and he started to breathe. James had a number of seizures by the time he was 2 hours old and he needed treatment that Calvary couldn’t provide.

He was transferred to NICU by the ACT NETS team and by the time he was 4 hours old, James had commenced therapeutic hypothermia treatment for hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), which is a type of brain damage associated with a lack of oxygen. He required breathing support through CPAP and the electrical activity in his brain was monitored through electrodes in his scalp.

The therapeutic hypothermia was ceased after 3 days and James was slowly warmed back to normal body temperature. On Day 5, the CPAP and brain monitoring were stopped and I was able to cuddle James for the first time since he was born. Later that day he had an MRI to assess the damage to his brain. On Day 6, James graduated to Special Care Nursery. We spent 3 more days getting him to feed properly before he was discharged from SCN.

Having arrived on his due date and weighing in at 4.14kg he was one of the biggest babies in NICU at the time and was double the weight his room mates!

Two months on and James is doing well, with his growth and development being closely monitored by a number of health care professionals.

Nothing can prepare you for a NICU stay but every single member of staff went above and beyond to make sure we had everything that we needed. We are so grateful for their support during what was a difficult period for us.

We are also thankful that the Newborn Intensive Care Foundation is able to support the NICU and SCN through the provision of specialist equipment and support for families.