When David and Annie recited their vows in early October 2022, they were excited to head off on one last trip as a twosome, before their baby boy was due to arrive in a few months’ time.
Despite feeling a little off on their wedding day, Annie pushed through thinking that she was just experiencing the usual niggles that often come with pregnancy.
The following Wednesday while at work, Annie began struggling with more persistent pain so she phoned her midwife and was advised to head to Casey Hospital.
Annie made her way to David’s workplace and they rushed to the emergency department where they were informed she was already 3cm dilated and needed to be transferred immediately to Monash Clayton.
From there, everything happened in what felt like a few minutes. Annie was almost fully dilated and in labour. She was rushed to Monash Children’s Hospital by ambulance and taken into a birthing suite.
Doctors and nurses at the hospital worked to halt Annie’s labour. For four days, her situation fluctuated constantly, and she was shuttled between the maternity ward and the birthing suite.
Unfortunately, Annie’s labour was determined to progress, and baby Khing was born via emergency caesarean on the 10th of October 2022 – sharing a birthday with his dad, David.
Baby Khing only weighed a tiny 736 grams and would need around-the-clock care to give him the best possible chance of having a healthy start to life.
The next few days were a blur, with Annie needing to rest as much as possible to recover from her surgery, all the while uncertain about the long-term outcome for their little boy.
“It was all very surreal,” said Annie. “It was hard to believe what was actually going on.”
As Khing began to stablise, Annie and David keenly looked forward to his thrice-weekly ‘weigh-ins’. His gaining weight brought them a great deal of joy and comfort, as they knew this meant they were moving closer to the day he would get to come home.
Annie focused on doing everything she could to help her baby grow, and that meant constantly trying to improve her breastmilk supply via constant pumping, which was exhausting.
David found himself running on autopilot, commuting between the hospital, home and work.
“Fortunately, the doctors and nurses were absolutely amazing,” said David. “Even though we never wanted to leave Khing at the end of the day, we felt completely safe and secure doing so because of the incredible level of trust we built with the nurses in the NICU.”
As the weeks went by, Khing slowly began putting on weight and was requiring less oxygen to support his tiny lungs.
Christmas was spent in the hospital with baby Khing in the special care nursery, and as Khing was growing stronger, he was able to have very special visits with Annie and David’s family.
Not long after Christmas, Khing was starting to learn how to breastfeed, and soon was feeding without the assistance of a feeding tube, much to the relief of David and Annie.
By this point, the NICU and Special Care Nursery was a second home to David and Annie, and as such, David was determined to make their time at Monash Children’s as positive and ‘homely’ as possible.
“I made a point of zoning in on any nurses that seemed to be having an off day and made it my mission to make them smile – after all, these nurses have a tough job, and they do it all with so much love and compassion,” he said.
David and Annie firmly believe that it was the complete dedication and care shown by Monash Clayton NICU nurses Elise, Nicole, Jenna, Grace and Lauren that led to such a positive outcome for Khing.
“We can’t express how much these wonderful nurses meant to us and our journey through the NICU with Khing. We’ll never forget the care and compassion they showed us and all the other families in the NICU,” said David.
By the end of January, baby Khing was ready to come home, much to the excitement of David and Annie as they now felt that could really begin their journey as a family of three.
“He just keeps growing and changing every day, it’s such a joy to witness,” said Annie.
“He smiles so much and has just learned how to roll over. He loves going for walks in the pram and last week we took him to the Melbourne Zoo for the first time – it was so special.”
“Annie and I are so excited to be supporting the 2023 Chain Reaction Challenge. The riders representing Monash Children’s Hospital form part of the team that made sure we could take our baby home – and we can’t thank them enough,” said David.
“We look forward to receiving updates as the riders tackle New Zealand, and to seeing them achieve their fundraising target – so that pre-term babies like Khing can get the best possible start to life.”