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As celebrity veterinarians, Gerado and Alex are no strangers to bright lights and operating theatres.
The personalities from Network Ten’s show Bondi Vet are used to a constant stream of chat between scrubbed up team members, the hum of beeping machines and flashing lights from monitors.
However, they weren’t prepared for the surgery they faced at Mater Mother’s Private Brisbane earlier this month.
Rather than performing an operation on someone’s pet for their TV show, Alex needed to deliver her baby girl, Lorelai, at 33 weeks by caesarean.
Her pregnancy journey hadn’t been easy. Alex was on and off bed rest with the liver condition, cholestasis, which left her feeling extremely nauseous and fatigued. And while she led an active, healthy lifestyle before pregnancy, she found herself barely able to walk up three stairs.
At the 23-week mark, a scan found Lorelai had a hole in her heart. By 33 weeks, the decision was made to deliver her early.
“The midwives on the ward prepared me for what was going to happen. They walked me through each stage step by step, which was really reassuring,” Alex said.
“I remember the assistant anaesthetist holding my hand and talking me through everything.”
However, neither Gerardo nor Alex could have been prepared for the emotions they would feel during the caesarean.
“For me, it was life changing. I didn’t expect to be so emotional; I don’t think I have cried so much as I did in that hour,” Gerardo said.
“She came out with her legs stretched out like a star. It was really nice to be with her in those first moments.
“And then they wheeled Alex in to see Lorelai, and she was able to touch her for the first time, and that was very emotional.”
Lorelai was born on Thursday April 1 at 4.21 pm weighing 2.1kg. Born premature, Lorelai needed a little extra help in Mater Mothers’ Neonatal Critical Care Unit (NCCU).
“It almost seemed surreal to go into NCCU and then over to her crib and be like wow, that’s my baby,” Alex said.
“She still had the CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) and I just wanted to touch and connect with her. Then the nurse put her on me, and she was screaming away and that was just so amazing to hear. It reassured me she was going to be okay.”
The days and weeks following Lorelai’s birth were challenging.
“During that time, we have watched families walk down the Mater Mothers’ ramp and put their babies into their car and take them home,” Gerardo said. “It’s been really tough leaving each afternoon without Lorelai, but we know she was in the best place for her.”
Nearly a month later, Alex and Gerardo have watched their baby girl grow stronger every day.
The CPAP was finally removed, allowing them to see their daughter’s ‘perfect face’ properly for the first time. The ECHO test on Lorelai’s hole in her heart came back with good news – it should heal itself – and Alex’s health returned to normal.
Gerardo and Alex finally took their little girl home on April 23 where she got to meet her big sister Tori, her grandma who came out from the UK for the birth and the family’s dog Yoshi.
Alex is thrilled they were able to be home in time for Mother’s Day.
“It’s really special to be able to celebrate Mother’s Day with both my babies and my mum,” she said.
“We are so thankful for all of the support from Mater Mothers’ to get us to the point where we are able to be at home with our healthy, happy baby.”