Cerebral Palsy Alliance, Steptember: Mum’s terrifying eight minutes
Daniella Galla didn’t get to hear that reassuring first cry or hold her newborn baby in her arms.
Her pregnancy had gone smoothly and there was nothing to indicate anything could go wrong.
In fact, Joseph Cooper came out a healthy 3629 grams.
But something did go wrong and doctors quickly realised little Joey didn’t have a heartbeat.
“It was a big shock,” the mother-of-two told news.com.au.
“I had a healthy pregnancy, so we weren’t expecting anything could go wrong. And to have your baby taken away from you — he was literally put on me for a second to cut the cord — to not hear that first cry, have that first cuddle, it was a very difficult time.
“That was very, very scary. That resuscitation was probably the longest time of my life. It was very difficult not knowing if my baby was going to survive.”
Doctors managed to get a heartbeat after eight minutes, but Ms Galla and her partner Matt Cooper were then told Joey might not survive the hour-and-a-half trip to the neonatal intensive care unit of the John Hunter Hospital.
“Finally, when they said we have a heartbeat I was so relieved, but I was still so scared and worried,” Ms Galla said.
“When he was being transferred to the NICU we were told he might not survive the trip. That was so traumatising saying goodbye to our new little baby.”
Joey was left with a hypoxic brain injury from losing too much oxygen and was diagnosed with spastic triplegia cerebral palsy.
He underwent immediate cooling treatment for 72 hours to prevent his brain from further damage and spent three weeks in the NICU.
“From the damage they could see on the MRI they identified he was at risk of cerebral palsy and that potentially he would have difficulties with walking,” Ms Galla said.
“He would probably spend time in a wheelchair and absolutely would need a walking frame.”
“We are surprised every day he is able to walk and run,” Ms Galla said.
“He’s so fast, I definitely have to keep up to him.
She said on a scale of one to five — with five being the worst case in a wheelchair — they were told Joey was a three or four but now he was about a one.
“We’re very lucky, we’ve had a lot of support with his therapy,” she said.
“The Cerebral Palsy Alliance continues to support and guide us through this journey, and they’re a big reason Joey is where he is at the moment.
“But it’s Joey himself — he’s so motivated and determined. A big credit to him, he works hard.”
Joey is an ambassador for Cerebral Palsy Alliance’s Steptember, which challenges fundraisers to walk 10,000 steps a day for 28 days in a row through September.
“Since starting in 2010, Steptember has raised $40 million globally to date,” she said.
“In Australia, the funds raised have been used to provide equipment and services for people living with cerebral palsy, like Joey, as well as advancing Cerebral Palsy Alliance’s groundbreaking research.”
Originally published as Mum’s terrifying eight minutes