Noticias Mundiales

I lost my first baby. Then, 23 weeks into my second pregnancy, I looked down after this photo was taken and was faced with my worst nightmare

Courtney Matulis was just 12 hours into her maternity leave at 23 weeks pregnant when she felt as though she was going into labour.

The 36-year-old, from the Morning Peninsula, had taken leave early as she was being cautious after losing her little girl at 18 weeks just 10 months earlier.  

She was about to go home after lunch with friends when they decided to take some photos together. That’s when she noticed the blood running down her leg. 

‘I was doing my last photo and my colleague Emma said to me, “Court, look down, your feet are red”,’ Courtney told FEMAIL.

Paramedics were called immediately and she was whisked off to Melbourne’s Monash hospital. 

Courtney was just 12 hours into her maternity leave and taking photos (pictured) with friends when she noticed blood pouring down her leg

‘I was crying, screaming, “I can’t do this again, I can’t lose another baby”,’ she said.

When hospital staff saw how much blood Courtney was losing they rushed her off to an ultrasound to see what was going on.  

‘They started to do the ultrasound and all I kept thinking was, “I’m doing this again, exactly ten months later, I’m doing this again”,’ she said. 

‘They said, “Courtney, you need to look at the screen”, I said, “I can’t, I really can’t”. So they turned the volume up, I heard his heartbeat and I just bawled my eyes out.’ 

Mum Courtney Matulis (left) gave birth to her son Maverick at just 23 weeks who spent five months in the ICU fighting a deadly infection (pictured with husband Rhys)

Mum Courtney Matulis (left) gave birth to her son Maverick at just 23 weeks who spent five months in the ICU fighting a deadly infection (pictured with husband Rhys)

Savannah-Jane, born December 2021

After almost a decade of trying both naturally and through IVF, Courtney had finally fallen pregnant. 

Besides a bit of morning sickness and fatigue, she said the pregnancy was a ‘breeze’ until one afternoon she started to experience a strange pain. 

‘I couldn’t pinpoint what it was. It was a bit of back pain but not being pregnant before I didn’t know too much about it,’ she said.

‘I popped myself to bed which alleviated the pain a bit but at around 11:45pm, I felt a lot of pressure. I went to the toilet, pushed and thought I did a really big wee. At the time I didn’t know my water had actually broken.’

No longer feeling any pain, Courtney took herself back to bed but when she woke in the morning feeling lethargic, her ‘mum gut’ knew she needed to go to the hospital. 

At the hospital, tests revealed she had an incompetent cervix which was struggling to hold Savannah-Jane in and she was in active labour. 

‘I was only 18 weeks and six days, so I knew that she had passed away. I just knew in my gut that she had passed away,’ Courtney said. 

Courtney said Maverick is her 'little fighter' as he miraculously pulled through and now living as a happy 16-month-old

Courtney said Maverick is her ‘little fighter’ as he miraculously pulled through and now living as a happy 16-month-old

‘I laid on the bed and didn’t look at the screen because I really didn’t want them to say there’s no heartbeat. They just said “I’m so sorry”. Those three words, I just broke. I looked at my husband and he was shattered.’

The devastated mum wanted to ‘shut off’ and hold onto her pregnancy for as long as she could so she was given painkillers and slept for four hours before giving birth to Savannah-Jane, a stillborn who weighed just 240 grams. 

After the birth, Courtney had to have surgery to remove her placenta which took four times longer than it should have as she had a haemorrhage and two blood transfusions. 

‘Eventually, they wheeled me back in and I was okay. The first thing I said to Rhys was, “Is (Savannah-Jane) okay?”,’ she said. 

‘We got the spend a beautiful 48 hours together with her. We were told we could spend as much time with her as we wanted.’

Courtney said the grief really started when she and Rhys returned home without their baby. 

‘It felt more real. I remember laying on the bed bawling my eyes out, saying to Rhys, “Put her back in, just put her back in”,’ Courtney recalled. 

Shaken by the traumatic experience but desperate to become a mum, Courtney wanted to try to have another baby as soon as her body was able. 

Maverick, born November 2022 

After two rounds of IVF, Courtney fell pregnant with Maverick in May of 2022. 

‘It was a mixture of feelings. I was delighted I was pregnant again but I felt like I shouldn’t be because technically Savannah was meant to be here by now,’ she said.

‘I didn’t want her to be forgotten because we were having another baby so quickly.’

The parents were trepidatious but excited. The excitement grew when they found out Courtney’s pregnancy was low risk and they would be having a boy. 

She could feel him kicking constantly, a sensation she never felt with Savannah-Jane, so she was hopeful she would be able to meet her baby boy.

Then she started bleeding on her first day of maternity leave and found herself in hospital being asked to look up at another ultrasound screen. 

Courtney thought she would lose her baby after her first daughter was a stillborn. But Maverick was born on November 1 2022 weighing a tiny 719 grams

Courtney thought she would lose her baby after her first daughter was a stillborn. But Maverick was born on November 1 2022 weighing a tiny 719 grams 

Doctors discovered the cervical stitch they inserted to prevent another early labour had failed and Courtney was three centimetres dilated. 

She was given a cocktail of medications to keep her safe, delay labour and advance Maverick’s development so he could breathe and grow in the outside world once he was born. 

Courtney went into labour six times over the next few days which doctors managed to stop but eventually, she could feel Maverick needed to be born. 

On November 1, 2022, Maverick was born via C-section weighing a tiny 719 grams.

Rhys followed his son as he was rushed up to the NICU while Courtney was left to recover from surgery having only glimpsed Maverick for a moment. 

Maverick was intubated to help him breathe as is done with many premature babies and closely monitored but doing well until he went into sepsis

Maverick was intubated to help him breathe as is done with many premature babies and closely monitored but doing well until he went into sepsis

Maverick was intubated to help him breathe as is done with many premature babies and closely monitored.

Courtney had to wait six hours after surgery to recover enough to go and see her baby but she only lasted five minutes. 

‘I felt really hot and going into the NICU, where it’s really warm. It was just too overpowering so I felt really unwell,’ she said.

The mum went back to her room and slept for hours before waking up with uncontrollable shakes. 

She called a nurse out of caution and moments later her room was filled with concerned doctors.

‘They did an ECG, they did my blood pressure, they did my pulse. My heart rate was 220 beats per minute. My blood pressure was really high. I physically couldn’t stop shaking,’ Courtney recalled. 

Her body was shutting down as she had gone into sepsis due to what was later revealed as an e-coli infection in her amniotic fluid.

Courtney said Maverick is her ‘little fighter’ as he miraculously pulled through and now living as a happy 16-month-old.   

Courtney was put on strong antibiotics and she started to regain her health despite some complications with her caesarean incision.

She was discharged a few days later and visited Maverick every day but only finally got to hold him when he was 12 days old. 

‘It was the greatest moment of my life. We sat there for four hours and did skin-to-skin,’ she said. 

‘I finally felt like a mum. I had everything I’d ever wanted in the 10 years of trying for a baby.’

Maverick also got diagnosed with the life-threatening condition and spent the next five months in hospital. 

Courtney finally got to hold Maverick when he was 12 days old: 'It was the greatest moment of my life. I finally felt like a mum'

Courtney finally got to hold Maverick when he was 12 days old: ‘It was the greatest moment of my life. I finally felt like a mum’

His time in the NICU was a bumpy one. He had to have surgery for a perforated stomach when he was a week old and, while he initially didn’t show any signs, had contracted the same infection as Courtney. 

‘One thing you learn in NICU very quickly is it’s one step forward, 10 steps back and that keeps going,’ she said.

‘You can have a really good run and then bang! It’s a roller coaster and it’s a roller coaster you just can’t get off.’

At 16 days, doctors started to notice the baby had not passed urine and had high blood pressure.

They tried to insert a catheter to empty his bladder but there wasn’t one small enough then his oxygen levels started to decline. 

The next morning, Courtney got a phone call from the hospital that made her stomach drop. 

‘They rang at 9 o’clock the next morning and said, ‘He’s gone downhill quite quickly, how quick can you get here? We need you here in 20 minutes’. I live 40 minutes from the hospital,’ she said.

‘I’m an atheist but on the way, I was literally praying to Savannah. I was like, ‘Please look after your brother, just keep him safe for us’.’

Maverick was still fighting when the parents finally got to the hospital but his condition was far from stable as his tiny body fought the infection. 

Maverick's time in the NICU was a bumpy one. He had to have surgery for a perforated stomach when he was a week old

Maverick’s time in the NICU was a bumpy one. He had to have surgery for a perforated stomach when he was a week old

A doctor asked permission to urgently try a treatment normally only given to babies over 36 weeks old but the parents didn’t hesitate, willing to try everything and anything to save their son. 

‘He had about 10 lines coming off him. He was back on the morphine. He was back on the caffeine. He was back on both of his blood pressure medications, everything,’ the mum recalled. 

‘He was on a wobble ventilator, a mat that sits underneath them and essentially makes them breathe 1,500 breaths a minute just to keep their lungs going because his lungs and his kidneys were shutting down.’

Maverick also had to be given sedation and muscle relaxants as he was moving too much among all the medical equipment. Courtney said he was and still is a notorious ‘wriggle worm’.  

Courtney and Rhys anxiously waited by Maverick’s side for two days hoping the concoction of medications and treatments would save his life. 

The mum said it was tough seeing the baby who would normally be moving, have his eyes open and grip her finger, lie there limp from the sedatives and muscle relaxants. 

However, the turmoil paid off as Maverick responded well to treatment and miraculously started to take a turn for the better.

‘The nurse who noticed he was unwell, she was going on holiday and said to us ‘I’ll see you when I get back’ Then she was gone for a week longer than we thought,’ Courtney said. 

‘When she came back she came into see us and said, ‘I didn’t think I would see you again because babies don’t come back from that’. That’s when I knew I had a fighter on my hands.’

From then, Maverick continued to recover, grow and get strong and at a month old was taken off his ventilator so he could breathe on his own. 

‘Then it was literally just growing, he had to grow and get stronger,’ Courtney said. 

Maverick stayed in the NICU until February then was moved to special care and, five months after he was born, well enough to finally go home on March 18 with a feeding tube and oxygen. 

‘I was getting over it every day. Driving to the hospital every day and sitting there. I didn’t mind sitting there because I was with Mav but having them tell me when I can change his nappy, I just wanted to bring my baby home,’ Courtney said. 

‘I said, ‘What do I have to do to get him home? I’ll take him home on the feeding tube, teach me how to do it, I don’t care, whatever it takes’.’

Maverick stayed in the NICU until February then was moved to special care and, five months after he was born, well enough to finally go home on March 18 with a feeding tube and oxygen

Maverick stayed in the NICU until February then was moved to special care and, five months after he was born, well enough to finally go home on March 18 with a feeding tube and oxygen

Courtney describes finally having her baby home as a ‘bittersweet’ experience. 

‘It was a bit nervewracking. We brought him home on the windiest day possible. We drove so slow home because the wind was moving the car,’ she recalled. 

‘Rhys and I would just sit there and watch him sleep and we’d just think ‘He’s home’.’

Maverick had a few short stints in hospital after and is underdeveloped for his age but is growing well at 16 months and the ‘sweetest little boy’. 

‘He’s no longer on oxygen or a feeding tube and he’s an eating machine. He says ‘mama’ and ‘dada’ and blow kisses,’ Courtney said. 

‘He’s not crawling and he’s not walking because he’s delayed because he was premature but I look at him and I think, ‘How are you mine?’. I truly believe Savannah sent me to him.’ 

Courtney describes Maverick as her ‘miracle’ and says her determination to be a mother kept her going through her incredible ordeal. 

‘All I ever wanted to be was a mum. Maverick was so tiny and so little and young and he needed someone to advocate for him,’ she said. 

‘There are some people out there that don’t come back from that. I feel for them and I understand but I was lucky I was able to.’ 

  • For more: DC & People website and for social networking, you can follow us on Facebook
  • Source of information and images “dailymail

Related Articles

Back to top button

Discover more from DC & People

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading