Learn About Butterflies Day

Did you know that our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) provides care for babies from Victoria, interstate and overseas?

With up to 851 admissions each year, our NICU provides the best neonatal care for babies with a wide range of complex medical and surgical problems.

In the spirit of Learn About Butterflies Day today, we want to shine the light on some of the amazing work happening in our NICU, which is also known as the Butterfly ward.

Twins Blake and Hayden began their journey in Butterfly shortly after birth. They were born at 27 weeks gestation after it was discovered in utero that that Hayden was nutrient deficient and Blake had pulmonary stenosis – which meant that blood was not flowing from his heart to an artery correctly.

During a routine check, it was also discovered that Hayden had a heart defect which meant the tube responsible for carrying blood to the body was narrower than normal.

Hayden and Blake’s mum, Tracey, said that it was after Hayden stopped gaining weight that he was rushed to the RCH.

“He was only 1.7 kilograms when he went over to the RCH. We were waiting for him to reach two kilograms, but the cardiac team decided that his surgery could not wait. The day that he was due to be transferred he got significantly worse, so the doctors decided to move him as an emergency transfer by the Paediatric Infant Perinatal Emergency Retrieval (PIPER) to Buterfly.”

“Hayden then had open heart surgery in his room. I think it is important for people to know that babies actually get operated on in their rooms when they’re critical and too unstable to move,” Tracey said.

Despite the surgery going well, Hayden’s treating team suspected that something was not quite right with his recovery. The team explored a number of possibilities before discovering that Hayden had an additional health concern.

“The RCH started treating him for chylous ascites. After that, he started to improve and you could see a real difference – it was a huge relief. The doctors still do not know why he got it, but it didn’t matter to us as long as he was going to be okay.”

Meanwhile Blake was not far away from Hayden in our Koala ward, where he was having an operation of his own to fix the problem that was preventing his heart from being able to pump blood to an artery correctly.

Despite their challenging starts, both boys are showing fantastic progress after their respective surgeries.

“Blake is currently doing really well and has starting to eat solids and is trying to roll over. He is laughing and giggling and is now seven kilograms. Hayden is also recovering well. He is nearly five kilograms and almost off his oxygen tube.”

The twins will require follow up appointments approximately every three months at the RCH, but Tracey is looking on the bright side.

“It gives us a great opportunity to catch up with everybody and show how well they are doing. The nurses are extremely beautiful people. They go above and beyond for your child as well as you and your partner, they’re there for the entire family.”

“I can’t thank The Royal Children’s enough for saving our children’s lives – words just don’t cut it.”

For more information about the Butterfly ward, please visit:  https://www.rch.org.au/butterfly/

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