Meet Nathaniel: a true gift of God

Heidi Shenoda Nathaniel baby photo

When Heidi Shenoda was just 6 weeks pregnant, she started to experience heavy vaginal bleeding. It marked the start of a tumultuous journey with a miraculous ending; a beautiful baby boy named Nathaniel, who truly lives up to his name’s meaning – ‘gift of God’.

Given her history of complicated pregnancies and placental insufficiencies, Heidi first saw A/Prof Indika Alahakoon when she began experiencing heavy bleeding at 6 weeks gestation, and these visits continued nearly weekly.

Then, at just 16 weeks gestation, Heidi has admitted to Norwest Private Hospital with heavy bleeding again. Testing revealed her placenta had complicated features already, and the survival of the pregnancy was uncertain.

A/Prof Indika placed Heidi on aspirin, progesterone and oral prednisolone to reduce the inflammation in her placenta. This had the desired effect, but Heidi would remain under observation in Norwest Private Hospital from this point until 24 weeks gestation.

A fetal morphology scan at 19 weeks revealed the happy news that baby Nathaniel was normally formed, but also raised some concerns there may be a reduced amount of fluid present.

Then, at 22 weeks, Heidi’s waters broke and she continued to bleed almost daily. She never gave up though and continued to fight for the life of her baby each and every day.

At 24 weeks, seeing as Nathaniel was now considered viable, A/Prof Alahakoon transferred Heidi to Westmead Hospital where there are neonatal intensive care (NICU) facilities available.

Just a week later, Heidi started to experience contractions and was found to have an open cervix with feet presentation.A/Prof Indika performed an emergency caesarean, and Heidi’s beautiful baby boy entered the world at just 25 weeks gestation on 28th February 2017, weighing 800g, and measuring a tiny 30 cm.Nathaniel

Of course, the story doesn’t end there though, and their fight certainly wasn’t over. Nathaniel would go on to spend 98 days in the NICU at Westmead Hospital before he was finally able to go home with his family at what would have been 39 weeks gestation, on 6th June 2017. This photo was taken on 13th June; Nathaniel’s due date.

Heidi documented their entire journey in photos which she has compiled into a video and gave her blessing for us to share with you.

She hopes it will inspire other mums who may be facing similar situations, and give them the faith and hope they need to get through.

With a start to living like this, and given the tenacity of his parents, you can just tell Nathaniel is destined to be a fighter.

We feel so blessed to have been a part of Heidi and Nathaniel’s journey, and wish them all the very best for the future; we can’t wait to see what it holds for Nathaniel!

Over the years, A/Prof Indika has been involved in many a high-risk pregnancy and birth, and each and every one is beautiful and special in its own right. You can read more about A/Prof Indika’s amazing pregnancy and birth stories via the links below.

The story behind the smiles; this family is a true miracle!

The story of Miracle Indika