Skye Nykamp will never forget the scene that greeted her in the hospital ward.
Heavily pregnant with her first child, she’d just been told her fiance was fighting for life after a motorbike accident.
“That picture of him will never go away,” Skye tells 7Life.
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The Adelaide woman had been 36 weeks pregnant, and bed bound with nausea and gestational diabetes. when her fiance Josh Matonia went for one last ride on his motorbike before putting it away to spend more time at home.
“His last ride before becoming a daddy,” Skye says.
Josh watched his fiancé give birth via Facetime. Credit: Supplied
Skye had drifted off on the couch before being woken by her phone a few hours later.
It was one of Josh’s mates.
“They knew I was pregnant and they didn’t want to stress me out,” she says.
“So, they basically said Josh had a little accident and had just messed up his knee.
“I was a little upset but I was like that’s okay, we can deal with this – it’s just his knee.”
Josh met his son for the first time while he was in the ICU. Credit: Supplied
Due to the remote location of the accident, a helicopter had been dispatched and Josh was to be flown to hospital.
Skye raced to the Royal Adelaide Hospital where she patiently sat for three hours waiting on news of her fiancé.
When she broke down in tears she was told he was actually being treated at Flinders Hospital – and she quickly raced there.
“Walking through the ICU … everyone was just so sick, I was so nervous,” Skye reveals.
Then she spotted Josh.
Josh was flown to hospital after a motorbike accident. Credit: Supplied
“He was gurgling blood, he had like 20 doctors around him .. he was so swollen, his torso was hidden,” Skye heartbreakingly details.
“The nurse had to practically hold me up, he just kept mumbling, ‘I’m sorry’.”
Gently Skye leant in and kissed Josh on the cheek as he was wheeled into theatre.
It turned out Josh had hit a divot on the dirt track just as he rounded a blind corner causing him to lose control of his bike.
He was catapulted from the seat and flew through the air before hitting a metal and wooden fence pole at high speed.
Josh tried to stand up in the seconds after the accident, but instantly collapsed.
His friends raced to his side and instantly phoned for an ambulance.
Skye took baby Xander to the ICU to meet his dad for the first time. Credit: Supplied
The dad-to-be had a collapsed lung, three broken ribs, his spleen was sliced in half and he had broken his back.
He’d also severed the artery in his kidney, cracked the top of his pelvis, shattered his knee into 26 pieces and had major internal bleeding.
On the outside, he had multiple puncture wounds to his torso and body.
As paramedics arrived, they had to walk 30 minutes on foot to reach him, all while triple 0 operators instructed his friends on how to keep Josh alive.
Once help arrived, they instantly phoned for a helicopter.
After four hours under the knife, Josh’s surgeon met Skye to discuss the extent of his injuries.
“They told me it was like a smashed dinner plate being glued back together,” she remembers.
After a further three hours on the operating table, Josh was placed in an induced coma and wheeled into the ICU.
Josh having his first cuddle with Xander, just a few hours old. Credit: Supplied
At 11.30 pm, Skye was told she could see her fiancé, but due to her being heavily pregnant and the high quantity of drugs Josh was administered, she was advised to keep her distance.
Her fiance was wrapped in wires and tubes and she says with every breath Josh exhaled she could smell the strong medication bellowing out of his body.
“That picture of him will never go away,” Skye solemnly adds. “But I was still so naïve to the extent of it.”
In the early hours of the morning, Skye headed home to get some rest.
The next day, she was back by his side and by the afternoon he was slowly brought out of the coma.
“He couldn’t really talk, he was in so much pain,” she recalls.
“He kept telling me he was sorry and asked if he was paraylsed because he had a neck brace on.”
Thankfully, the neck brace was just a precaution and Josh had not permanently damaged his spinal cord.
As Skye comforted Josh, she experienced the first twinges of labour – pains in her growing pregnant belly and her body began to swell.
Noticing her symptoms, an ICU nurse recommended she head to the maternity ward for a checkup.
Reluctantly, Skye left Josh and headed down the corridor to see a midwife.
“They told me I was most likely just stressed, they gave me a yoghurt and told me I needed to get some rest,” Skye says.
Heading home, at 1.30am Skye rolled restlessly over in bed, and felt some dampness.
Her waters had broken.
Skye introducing father and son. Credit: Supplied
Within 45 minutes, her contractions had escalated to four minutes apart.
With her sister at home keeping her company, the pair headed to the hospital.
“I went into the ICU to see Josh first,” Skye says.
He was groggy and unable to hold his head up and Skye phoned a friend to come and sit with him while she was in labour.
Making her way to the maternity ward, Skye hoped that Josh would be able to be wheeled in while she gave birth.
But as her labour progressed, she realised he wouldn’t be there.
“I just wanted them to stop my labour, I wanted Josh to be there,” Skye says.
“I had been awake for around 30 hours, I was exhausted.”
Too far along, nurses told Skye there was nothing left to do but push.
With her sister and aunty by her side, they pulled out a phone and rested it on a machine next to Skye’s bed.
Phoning Josh on Facetime, he opened his eyes as Skye began to push.
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His friend held the phone up to Josh’s face as he was too weak to hold it himself.
Rejecting medication so he could remember every moment, he watched in pride as Skye brought baby Xander into the world.
A few hours later, Skye took Xander to meet his dad for the first time.
“We have made the best out of a terrible situation,” she says.
It has been 19 months since the accident and the family are finally moving on. Credit: Supplied
For five days, the new mum and bub stayed down the corridor from Josh before they made their way back home.
Every day the pair would travel 45 minutes to and from the hospital to visit Josh and spend time together as a family of three.
Finally, 15 days later Josh was discharged.
His battle wasn’t over yet, with daily visits from hospital staff and numerous operations on the cards.
Sliced from his sternum to his public bone, Josh also was unable to walk.
“I had to help him get dressed, do the washing, the cooking, keep his dressings dry and care for a newborn,” Skye reveals.
For months Skye drove Josh to the hospital for constant medical care.
During Josh’s recovery, he spent every moment with his newborn son. Credit: Supplied
But now, 19 months on from the accident, the new family has finally found their feet.
Xander is a “very busy” toddler and his mum and dad are back at work with Josh making a complete recovery.
“I do still have flashbacks of that day … I will never forget,” Skye says.
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