The arrival of Marco Anthony Picco!

The arrival of Marco Anthony Picco!

In September 2005 I found out I was expecting our first child. My husband Franco and I were ecstatic that we were going to become parents for the first time. The pregnancy was progressing normally and the first scan at twelve weeks showed that, although the baby was small, it was developing normally and everything looked fine.

At 21 weeks into the pregnancy everything changed. My membranes ruptured prematurely and, to this day, the doctors to not know why. New Year’s Eve 2005 Franco and I were told the devastating news that I could lose the baby either through miscarriage or I could develop an infection in which case the doctors would take the decision to end the pregnancy as it could put my life at risk. Franco and I were devastated. I went home on antibiotics after one night in hospital to wait for the inevitable.

A few days passed and I had not miscarried. I went for an ultrasound scan to see how much fluid was lost and if the baby was still alive and developing. The scan showed that I had lost the majority of my amniotic fluid but the baby was still there and a strong heartbeat was present. I saw the consultant in the antenatal clinic who talked us through all the possibilities of what could happen to our baby in the next few days or weeks. He warned us that even if I did not miscarry, the baby would more than likely be born prematurely and would have problems with lung and limb development. He warned us that the baby may not survive.

Weeks passed and I attended the antenatal clinic at 25 weeks to the surprise of the doctors. I think they had anticipated that I would have lost the baby by this time. During the consultation, the consultant discussed the possibility of terminating the pregnancy as he had grave doubts that our baby would survive. Franco and I would not even consider this and requested a second opinion from a professional in foetal medicine.

The conclusion was that our baby had a 50% chance of survival at this stage, although the odds were more in our favour as even though I was still leaking amniotic fluid daily I was managing to retain some fluid around the baby therefore helping the lungs to develop. They concluded that the pregnancy should continue as the baby had a reasonable chance of survival.

Weeks passed of hospital visits for blood tests, ultrasound scans and to see the doctors who continued to remain negative about our baby’s chance of survival. Franco and I remained strong and refused to give up on our baby. I received steroid injections at 28 weeks to help the baby’s lung development and at 33 weeks I was given a date for a Caesarean. The baby, now breach, was going to be born at 36 weeks as the doctors did not feel it advisable to let the pregnancy go full term.

The following week I experienced bleeding and was admitted onto the Maternity ward. A day had passed and I began to have contractions. I was moved to the labour ward and contractions were coming thick and fast. I was rushed to theatre for an emergency Caesarean – it was just like an episode of ER! All of a sudden, there were people everywhere trying to do their bit to help the doctors deliver our child. Franco made it to theatre just in time to see our baby son born. Marco Anthony Picco was delivered at 08.00hrs on Saturday April 1st weighing in at 3lb 8oz. Although he was tiny he came out crying, which was a huge relief for Franco and I. We dissolved into tears at this point, as we could not believe that we had a baby son and he was healthy. Following the birth at 34 weeks, Marco was transferred straight to the Special Care Baby Unit. He was placed in an incubator and fed donor breastmilk then my breastmilk through his feeding tube. I was able to establish breast feeding once his feeding tube was removed. I roomed with him for the last two and a half weeks of his admission and Marco was finally discharged after three and a half weeks.

Marco continues to thrive and put on good amounts of weight. He does not appear to have any health problems. If we had listened to the doctors at 25 weeks into the pregnancy Marco would not be with us now. After everything that had happened only our son could be born on April Fools Day! He is just a normal healthy baby who remains small for his age but perfectly formed!

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