Aurora was supposed to be born on Sunday, but she entered the world as early as February 4th – which meant she needed a miracle to make it this far.
Alyscea Andriske was just 23 weeks into her pregnancy when she was driven by ambulance from her home in Ulladulla to the Royal Hospital for Women in Sydney.
“My water broke in the ambulance and I just hoped I could get to the Royal Women’s because I know they can work miracles – but if I had them in the ambulance it wouldn’t be good,” said Ms. Andriske, 24 old.
Most babies born at 23 weeks of age are not ready for life outside the womb. Their organs are underdeveloped, their lungs collapse on themselves, their eyes are still fused, and their skin can barely absorb the fluids in their tiny bodies.
She suffered from pulmonary complications and a small cerebral haemorrhage during those scary early weeks, but her brave demeanor was quickly apparent.
It is also noteworthy that Aurora has an older brother, Tobias, now two, who also survived when he was born at 23 weeks.
“It was frightening that it happened again, but I also knew what I was getting myself into and how great the doctors and staff can be, and now I only have Tobias and Aurora because of them,” said Ms. Andriske.
The neonatologist and pediatrician Dr. Meredith Ward is part of the wonder team that cares for more than 1,000 of the state’s sickest and smallest babies each year. Dr. Ward took care of both Aurora and Tobias.
“The majority of babies born in this pregnancy still do not survive. The survival of a 23-week-old child is only 30 percent. So being born at 23 weeks is still a lifelong crisis,” said Dr. Ward.
“Of the babies who survive, about a third who go home are completely normal in terms of development, 40 percent may have mild disability, and 25 percent have significant problems with disabilities such as blindness or hearing impairment or significant cerebral palsy.” ”
After more than three months in the Newborn Intensive War, Aurora, who now weighs 1.64 kg, is set to go home this Thursday.
“We beat a lot of chances … we have two 23-year-olds, both are miracles and we are so grateful and blessed,” said Andriske.
A drug that can prevent women from giving birth prematurely will be subsidized through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme starting June 1.
Oripro is a progesterone treatment for pregnancies at risk of a shortened cervix – a major cause of premature birth – and for women who have a history of spontaneous premature birth.
Previous scripts have cost high-risk women $ 175 for a month-long delivery but are now $ 41.30, or $ 6.60 with a concession card.
Premature birth occurs when the baby is born before the 37th week of pregnancy. Premature babies are at greater risk of complicated medical problems such as life-threatening infections, cerebral palsy, respiratory and cardiac complications, which can be fatal or cause severe long-term disability.
One in 11 babies is born prematurely in Australia, and spontaneous preterm birth accounts for 14 percent of all peri-natal deaths and one-third of peri-natal deaths of babies of indigenous mothers.
“Better access to effective options to prevent premature birth is very welcome,” said Dr. Chris Lehner, co-director of obstetrics at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital in Brisbane.
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