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Sydney mother reveals how she went into labour after finding son with cerebral palsy aspirating

A cake business owner revealed the terrifying moment she went into stress labour and gave birth to her third child while her other son was being treated in the hospital emergency room downstairs.

Marija Macri from western Sydney was 38 weeks pregnant in 2014 when she found her son Marc at home in bed, his face blue, and unresponsive due to a blocked airway.

She and husband Ross rushed Marc, who has spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, to hospital, and it was only then that Marija noticed the blood on her pants.

‘I told Ross I was having this baby, that I was in labour, and he was trying to tell me I can’t,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.

Marija Macri (with husband Ross and son Marc), from western Sydney, was 38 weeks pregnant when she found her son Marc aspirating. He was blue in the face and unresponsive

Marija Macri (with husband Ross and son Marc), from western Sydney, was 38 weeks pregnant when she found her son Marc aspirating. He was blue in the face and unresponsive

The mother (pictured following Marc's birth) said she and her husband Ross rushed Marc, who has spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, into hospital

The mother (pictured following Marc’s birth) said she and her husband Ross rushed Marc, who has spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, into hospital

Mrs Macri went into stress labour (pictured) while her son was in the emergency room downstairs

Mrs Macri went into stress labour (pictured) while her son was in the emergency room downstairs

Mrs Macri (pictured with her son and father Steve) is running 70km in one day to raise money for cerebral palsy research

Mrs Macri (pictured with her son and father Steve) is running 70km in one day to raise money for cerebral palsy research

‘So while the doctors in emergency worked on Marc I was having contractions.’ 

But with Marc, who was just one-and-a-half at the time, downstairs getting emergency treatment while she was in the throws of labour, Marija became confused and thought she was giving birth to Marc all over again.

She kept asking why Marc wasn’t crying, while her new baby Dean was screaming like all newborn babies do.

WHAT IS SPASTIC QUADRIPLEGIC CEREBRAL PALSY  

 This is a type of cerebral palsy that impacts the control in movement of the arms and legs.

There is no paralysis, but movement is a jerking motion.

Children display signs of cerebral palsy early in life, and it does impact development. 

Facial muscles also cannot perform functions, due to the tightness and strain. This makes it difficult to talk and communicate. 

Symptoms often appear between three months of age and 12 months.

Parents might observe things such as being able to control neck or head.    

Source: Cerebral Palsy Group 

Eventually, she sunk back in to reality and realised what had happened – that the trauma had pushed her back mentally to the night she gave birth to Marc.

A week before Marc was born, Marija began to feel tremors in her stomach. She went to her doctor but due to symptoms of her previous birth there was no cause for concern.

But when she was delivering Marc, he was have seizures while he was being born.

As soon as he was delivered, doctors intubated him because he wasn’t responsive and he was transferred to another hospital. 

‘They didn’t tell me at first that something was wrong because they didn’t want to freak me out,’ Ms Macri said.

‘But he wasn’t crying. He wasn’t breathing at all.’ 

Mrs Macri stayed in hospital with Marc, who is now seven, for five weeks.

He was diagnosed with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy almost immediately.

‘What do you do as a mother when you’re told all these different names,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.

‘You look it up online. All that comes up are pictures of kids who are fully incapacitated. It shocked Ross and I. It was painful to hear and be in those small rooms.’ 

During labour Mrs Macri became confused and couldn't distinguish between her labour with Marc and her labour with Dean

During labour Mrs Macri became confused and couldn’t distinguish between her labour with Marc and her labour with Dean

A week before Marc was born, Mrs Macri began to feel tremors in her stomach. She went to her doctor but due to symptoms of her previous birth there was no cause for concern

A week before Marc was born, Mrs Macri began to feel tremors in her stomach. She went to her doctor but due to symptoms of her previous birth there was no cause for concern

Mrs Macri said her son understands a lot, he just can’t communicate back clearly to the person he is interacting with.

Being his mum, Marija knows his unspoken cues by heart.

‘I know when he is watching a show and he doesn’t like, he tenses, so I change it,’ she said.

‘When his grandparents come around, he is all fine and then next thing you know he is sobbing and crying for them to take him for a walk.

‘Tell me that isn’t a kid who doesn’t know. He plays them so well – just like any other child wanting a piece of candy off their grandparents.’

Marija’s daily life is similar to that of many other mums – with both parents going off to work and her three children at school.

Marc attends a school that specialises in educating kids with disabilities, so he can have the therapy he needs – such as speech therapy.

He regularly sees medical experts such as dietitians, practicing communication and is taking medication four times a day.

But when she was delivering Marc, he was seizing while he was being born. As soon as he was delivered, doctors intubated him because he wasn't responsive and he was transferred to another hospital

But when she was delivering Marc, he was seizing while he was being born. As soon as he was delivered, doctors intubated him because he wasn’t responsive and he was transferred to another hospital

One of his main medications is to help regulate the seizures that he has – but Marija said those episodes are impossible to prepare for.

‘You cannot be ready for it enough because it just happens. It could happen at anytime,’ she said. 

You just have to get into it and do what you have to do. We’ve had it so many times though that we try not to panic.’

Mrs Macri daily life at their home is what would be expected at any other home, with both parents going off to work and her three children at school

Mrs Macri daily life at their home is what would be expected at any other home, with both parents going off to work and her three children at school

Marc has two brothers - Alex, who is nine, and Dean, who is just six years old. Marc is the middle child

Marc has two brothers – Alex, who is nine, and Dean, who is just six years old. Marc is the middle child

Marija has her difficult moments coping with a special needs son, but she tries not to show her son when she is fearful.

About a month ago, she found her son in a similar state to how she found him when he was one-and-a-half years old.

This time, however, they couldn’t visit Marc in hospital until they passed two COVID-19 tests with negative results.

About a month ago, Mrs Macri found her son in a similar state to how she found him when he was one-and-a-half years old

About a month ago, Mrs Macri found her son in a similar state to how she found him when he was one-and-a-half years old

‘That was pretty hard because it hadn’t happened for a few years, but not being able to see him [was difficult],’ she said.

Marc has also had seizures his entire life – ones that have lasted up to two-and-a-half hours.

He needs to be fully medicated in order for the seizure to stop. If his seizures go on for too long, Marc can die.

‘Don’t get me wrong, a seizure is a seizure. Whether they are short or long, you still get fearful for that person. But to experience ones the length of time Marc has [it is terrifying],’ Mrs Macri said.

Mrs Macri said she tries not to show her son when she is fearful, but she does have her moments where she privately experiences her emotions

Mrs Macri said she tries not to show her son when she is fearful, but she does have her moments where she privately experiences her emotions

Mrs Macri said her oldest son knows how to help with Marc's feeding, while Dean often copies his mum so he can learn about each part of his brother's treatment

Mrs Macri said her oldest son knows how to help with Marc’s feeding, while Dean often copies his mum so he can learn about each part of his brother’s treatment

Marija  says her two other boys Alex and Dean have been brilliant with handling what their brother goes through, and making allowances for the time that needs to be devoted to him.

She said she tries to make sure their daily life isn’t impacted and they can still have their fun.

‘We include Marc in everything, so the big thing with my boys – as a parent – I have to teach them they know as much as possible about Marc’s condition,’ she said.

She said her oldest son knows how to help with Marc’s feeding, while Dean often copies his mum so he can learn about each part of his brother’s treatment.

However, she stresses that she never forces her sons to do anything they may find ‘gross’ when it comes to Marc’s health.

Mrs Macri said her son understands a lot, he just can't communicate it back to the person he is interacting with

Mrs Macri said her son understands a lot, he just can’t communicate it back to the person he is interacting with

Mrs Macri stayed in hospital with Marc, who is now seven, for fives weeks after he was born. He was diagnosed with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy almost immediately

Mrs Macri stayed in hospital with Marc, who is now seven, for fives weeks after he was born. He was diagnosed with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy almost immediately

Now, Mrs Macri is taking on the challenge of a lifetime to raise money for kids like Marc with STEPtember

Now, Mrs Macri is taking on the challenge of a lifetime to raise money for kids like Marc with STEPtember

She said her kids all love each other – with Alex proudly holding his brother’s hand at school often.

‘He is proud. He pushes him in his standing frame and he is always holding Marc’s hand when they walk. He is so inclusive,’ she said.

‘They love him. They know what makes him laugh and they do it constantly.’ 

Now, Mrs Macri is taking on the challenge of a lifetime to raise money for kids like Marc with STEPtember.

She, along with the help of her dad, is running 70km in one day to help raise money and awareness for cerebral palsy.

‘The only way I could do this is because of my dad being by my side,’ she said.

‘I am very thankful to have ‘Steve the Legend’, I don’t think I could have done this otherwise.’

She said it is an honour to do this and help fundraise so children can get things such as wheelchairs and walking frames.

Mrs Macri said she is also doing this for herself so she can prove in addition to working two jobs, being a mother to three boys and a wife, she can find time to devote to her own achievements too.

She, along with the help of her dad, is running 70km in one day to help raise money and awareness for cerebral palsy

She, along with the help of her dad, is running 70km in one day to help raise money and awareness for cerebral palsy

She has already done a 60km practice, which left her in agony, but she is determined to push through.

‘You just have to work with it. You have to do it,’ she said.  

Mrs Macri urged anyone who has even just a $1 to spare to donate to the cause, as it can help so many. 

STEPtember raises money and awareness for cerebral palsy sufferers.

Participants have a goal of achieving 10,000 steps per day for 28 days in September.

So far in 2020 the organisation has raised $5,028,125 for cerebral palsy research and sufferers.  

More information about STEPtember can be found here

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