“Talk about pre-eclampsia, because you could save a life” – Brooke and Kody’s story

Brooke's son Kody, on the unit

Brooke gave birth to her baby boy Kody on 3 July 2016 at 27 weeks and one day. His sixth birthday is this week, so please join us in celebrating and remembering Kody, who very sadly passed away in February 2017.

My first baby was born at full term and was healthy.

My second baby was born at 33 weeks gestation as I suffered with pre-eclampsia, which I hadn’t heard of at the time. The experience of having a premature baby via a caesarean section and spending time in the neonatal unit was terrifying. She spent seven weeks in the neonatal unit, and I couldn’t bond with my daughter. Luckily, she’s now a healthy nine-year-old.

On 3 July 2016, my third baby Kody was born. Kody was born at 27 weeks plus one day gestation as I suffered with pre-eclampsia for the second time. He weighed 1lb 10oz.

When Kody was born I naively thought his journey in the neonatal unit would be similar to his sister’s, but it was actually far from it. Kody could not breathe on his own - he was tried on numerous breathing support but his lungs were too undeveloped. Kody managed to go from intensive care to the high dependency unit on a handful of occasions but always ended up back in intensive care.

On more than one occasion we were told that Kody might not make it.

Kody was given steroid injections twice to try to help mature his lungs and was transferred to Great Ormond Street Hospital to see if he had an underlying condition which would explain why he needed so much help breathing, but he didn’t have one. Kody’s lungs were just severely undeveloped, they were “on the worst end of the worst scale”.

At four months old, Kody was transferred to a heart and lung specialist hospital. As the doctors weren’t sure if Kody would make the journey, we were blue lighted to the hospital.

Kody started suffering with pulmonary hypertension, which meant his lungs were putting pressure on his heart.

Kody was then also hooked up to a nitric oxide machine which was meant to help dilate the blood vessels in his lungs. Kody spent most of his time now muscle relaxed and sedated, so I barely got to hold him.

At five months old Kody had a tracheostomy, with the hope that he would eventually come home and be able to have a bit more freedom. Kody continued to need a lot of breathing support, and whenever the breathing support was reduced he would struggle and deteriorate.

Kody 2

In the middle of January 2017, Kody had a good two weeks. He was put on methadone as he was having withdrawal symptoms from the doctors trying to get him off his other medications, and they were also reducing his breathing support.

However at the end of January, Kody was in a bad way. We were told that the kindest thing to do would be to let him “die with dignity”. Kody’s organs began to shut down and on 4 February 2017 at 10.43pm, Kody’s heart stopped beating, and our world changed forever.

Please look up pre-eclampsia, recognise the signs and symptoms, talk about pre-eclampsia, educate yourself and others. Raise awareness of this horrible condition because you could save a life.


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