Bub Born Early

Was Your Bub Born Early?

All About Us
About Me...
 
My name is Natasha Bowden and I am the author of The BubBE Book, the creator of this site and most importantly the mother of three gorgeous kids, including a beautiful boy who was born at just 23 weeks 4 days gestation. I live in Perth, Western Australia with my partner Clayton and my kids Hudson, Malakai and Indiana. I am an Environmental Scientist in my 'working life', although I am currently a stay at home mum. 
 
 
Why I Created BubBE?
 
Hudson is our first child, so when I fell pregnant with him my understanding of pregnancy, birth and rearing children was much the same as any other first time expectant mother....limited to what I'd seen others experience or read in books. I had very little understanding of premature birth and its associated consequences and had never encountered a premature child. So understandably, I had next to no idea what to expect when I went into labour at 23 weeks. However, two years down the track, including the 5 1/2 months Hudson spent in hospital, I feel that I have a good understanding of the 'premature baby experience'. Looking back one of the items I wished I had at the time of my sons birth was a baby book designed specifically for premature babies. After researching the availability of such a book, I found that only a few such books existed internationally, with perhaps only one of those being designed, although not readily available, in Australia. So I set about creating one myself and The BubBE Book is the result! I created this website to allow the book to be easily purchased from anywhere in the world and to provide some information, inspiration, guidance and hope to the family and friends of premature children. I will continue to update and improve the site as time goes by and would appreciate your feedback on how this can be achieved.
 
Our Story...
 
Our beautiful baby boy, Hudson Garan Hough’s, entry into this world wasn’t to be an easy one….
The story starts at the beginning of 2006, when my partner Clayton and I, both Environmental Consultants, began trying to get pregnant.  As it turned out, that was to be the fun and easy part and I found out I was pregnant in early February.
 
 
Me - two weeks before I gave birth
 
Around that same time, however, I was diagnosed with antenatal depression. I resigned from work after 8 weeks of pregnancy.  Just 6 weeks later I was struck down with terrible stomach pains and underwent an emergency appendectomy.  The doctors told me that there was a chance my baby wouldn’t make it through the operation, but he showed his tenacity when later that week he was seen sucking his thumb on an ultrasound!
 
Once out of hospital family and friends stated that after all that had happened I would surely be able to enjoy the rest of my pregnancy event-free.  Unfortunately the universe had other plans!  At 22 weeks 5 days into my pregnancy, Clayton, his sister and I were involved in a car accident when the car I was driving was hit by a drunk driver with no licence who failed to stop at an intersection.  Hudson was delivered a week later on 24th June 2006 at King Edward Memorial Hospital for Women (KEMH) in Perth.  He weighed only 580 grams and was born with his eyes still fused shut.  And after all that had already happened our journey was really only just beginning….
 
In his first few days of life we were told to expect Hudson to take three steps forward and two steps back.  It was wonderful when at 9 days old Hudson opened his eyes for the first time just before our very first cuddle.  We were so proud when he was transferred from the ventilator to the CPAP machine at 17 days old, but devastated when just 9 days later his infection indicator (CRP) levels rose, stomach distended and he was placed back on the ventilator.  Numerous blood tests were carried out and antibiotics administered, but no source for the infection was found.  When he appeared to be getting better a week later, he was placed back on CPAP.  At 7 ½ weeks old he reached the 1 kg mark, by 10 ½ weeks of age he was able to maintain his own temperature and was placed in an open cot, a few days later he was receiving oxygen via nasal prongs (or PBF) and at 12 weeks old he finally made it into the High Dependency Unit (HDU)!  At this point we thought we were on the homeward stretch….but unfortunately that was not the case.
 
 
Hudson - at a few days old he is only a bit larger than his Grandpa's hand
 
When he was 13 weeks old I suspected that all was not right with my son.  I expressed my concern to Hudsons’ nurses and doctors and they agreed to monitor him closely overnight.  The next day Hudson’s stomach was again distended and he rapidly became gravely ill.  He was immediately transferred from KEMH to Princess Margaret Hospital for Children (PMH) and had an operation to repair an inguinal hernia that night.  As his symptoms had still not abated by the next day it was decided that a bowel operation was required.  Four centimetres of his bowel had to be removed due to Necrotising Enterocolitis (NEC). After two and a half weeks at PMH during which he progressed from the High Frequency Oscillation (HFO) ventilator to normal ventilation, then back to PBF, he was transferred back to KEMH.
 
 
Hudson -  very sick with NEC
 
As he approached and past his expected due date of 17th October 2006, Hudson was gaining weight and seemed to be recovering well from his surgeries.  The goal was now to wean him off the oxygen and monitor his eyesight for any progression of his Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP).  Eventually it was decided that his ROP had progressed to the stage where laser surgery was required so he returned to the childrens hospital for the day at 17 weeks of age.  The day after his ROP surgery it was thought that he was breathing well enough to come off his PBF. He went off and on his oxygen for another few days and then came off it completely for about three weeks.  However as he was still desaturating quite frequently, it was thought that unless he went back on PBF he would continue to need monitoring at the hospital.  Clayton and I decided that in order to be able to take Hudson home, and for the sake of our own mental health (!), that he should go back on the oxygen.  After being trained in the use of the oxygen regulator and a night of parent-crafting we finally left hospital as a family on December 3rd 2006, a lengthy 5 ½ months after our son was born.
 
 
Clayton, Hudson and I - the day we finally took our baby home!
 
We haven’t left the hospital completely behind as Hudson still has regular paediatric, respiratory, ophthalmological (eye) and surgical follow-up appointments to attend.  He also has developmental delays that require him to have regular sessions of Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy and Physiotherapy.  It took 18 months for him to be completely weaned off his oxygen requirements and around the same time he was prescribed his first pair of glasses.  Despite all of the obstacles he has faced, Hudson today is a gorgeous, smiley, cheeky little boy who is loved, adored and admired by people the world over (literally….through the power of the internet and a grandmothers network of friends!).  We look at him now and just can’t believe how lucky we are to have him.
 
 
Hudson - at 2 years of age, a happy little boy!
 
As the parents of an extremely premature baby who have lived through the NICU experience what we would like to say to other parents, and their friends and families who may be reading our story, is to NEVER LOSE HOPE!  It is hard when you are bombarded with negative likely outcomes before and after your child is born, but just the fact that your baby has made it as far as the NICU is reason to have hope and reading stories about children such as our wonderful ex-23 weeker confirms that miracles really do happen!