Matthew Jones was delivered by emergency caesarean section at 25 + 5 weeks gestation due to severe Pre-Eclampsia and Intra-Uterine Growth Restriction. We were due to have a low-risk delivery at KEMH Family Birth Centre, but when I went for a routine check up, we found my blood pressure had sky-rocketed even though I had no unusual symptoms. We were transferred to the main hospital at KEMH for Matthew’s delivery.
Matthew was only 500 grams at birth and suffered from a severe bleed on his brain (intra-ventricular haemorrhage, grade 3 and grade 4) and a bleed on his lungs (pulmonary haemorrhage) within the first few days. After a month of not tolerating feeds, he was transferred to PMH to have Ileostomy surgery due to a narrowing of his colon. He had endured countless medications and antibiotics, and even a broken femur due to low calcium from all the diuretics he had to take. He had survived even when the odds were against him. It took six and a half months before Matthew was well enough to come home.
Matthew was not hitting the developmental milestones, even when they were adjusted for his prematurity. We were given the diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy (spastic diplegia) due to the stiffness in his muscles and the diagnosis of Global Developmental Delay due to his language, speech and motor skills delay. Matthew also has nystagmus, a neurological eye condition which affects him being able to see a moving object or focus on anything when his eyes are tired.
Matthew is now a happy and healthy 6 year old child, attending Pre-Primary at our local primary school. He is funny and cheeky and is incredibly determined even with his physical limitations. He uses a walker to travel across the school, and is able to walk small distances (eg, across the classroom) without assistance. His Cerebral Palsy limits the activities he can play with his friends, but thankfully they try to include him in everything they do. He is also on an Individualised Education Plan so that we can track his progress in the classroom and ensure that he is catching up to his fellow classmates.
Longer term, Matthew will probably be able to walk unassisted or with only minor aids (eg, walking stick). His vision problems will always be an issue, although these should not have a major impact with correct management. With the support of friends and family, Matthew should be able to live a productive and full life.