During my last two pregnancies I never worried or even thought about the need for Neo Natal Intensive Care. I think it’s fair to say I have a very positive outlook on life and don’t like to dwell on the negative or worry about what may or may not happen.
I mentioned in my post about Miss Cs birth that there was some drama 11 hours after she was born, this might be putting it a bit mildly. As soon as Miss C was born I was really keen to breastfeed her and start to establish it as soon as possible, thankfully she went on minutes after she was born and I managed to feed her no bother so after we were moved to a general ward and I managed to get a little bit of sleep, I tried to feed her again. The midwife came in to check up on her and the Paediatrician came in to do their initial checks and as all was well so they left me to it. This time it was a lot more difficult and I was really grateful for the help of the Breastfeeding Support Workers in the maternity unit. A lovely lady called Alison came along to help me with latching and showed me how to hand express while Miss C had some lovely skin to skin with her Dad. When Alison went to put her back in her clothes she noticed what looked like purple bruising all up the back of her right leg. She grabbed a midwife (it just so happened to be the one who had taken a look her earlier) and before I knew what was happening, there were about 6 people round her cot.
There was a lady called Lynne who explained that they were really worried about her and wanted to take her to NNU to do some checks. She asked me if I had been in contact with anyone with an infectious disease or if there was a history of blood disorders in either of our families. The answer to both of these was no and within seconds Miss C was being wheeled away from me. I’ll be totally honest and say that the next bit is somewhat blurry.
We walked along to the NNU where they were prepping her for tests, Lynne asked if we wanted to stay as they had to take bloods from her and it could be really distressing to see. I decided that I couldn’t sit and watch so she told us to come back in an hour. That was the LONGEST hour of my entire life and even typing about it, I have a huge lump in my throat. After about 55 minutes I went back along to see what was happening and Lynne sat me down and explained that her temp was so low that she was hypothermic and they were really worried about her. Apparently when they did the bloods etc she didn’t make a peep which is unusual and worrying as most babies scream the place down. At this point I genuinely didn’t know whether my baby was going to live or not. It is the most awful thing I’ve ever had to go through. So many mixed emotions and hormones flying everywhere that it all went in a big blur. The whole time in the back of my mind I was panicking because Miss B was on her way to the hospital to visit her baby sister and I didn’t want her coming in to the chaos and her getting upset too.
Miss B arrived at hospital and as it turns out, I managed to stay calm and told her that Miss C just needed a wee bit of extra help to breathe so she was in a special cot which I seemed to have get away with. She got to go into NNU and see her and although it’s not quite the meeting we had imagined, Miss B was so happy to have a sister and was looking forward to having her out for a cuddle. This meeting broke my heart because I didn’t know if that would ever happen.
So now back to Miss C, she was stripped down to her nappy and in an incubator and was hooked up to a lot of cables, cords and machines that were so scary looking. The next three days are a bit hazy, they were filled with expressing breast milk, running back and forward to NNU and worrying about EVERYTHING. We had to go through crazy amounts of hand washing and sanitising just to get in the room to see her in the incubator but there’s very obvious and serious ramifications if you don’t. The Consultants were really concerned about the marks on her because there was no explanation for them. They were up her leg, some on her back and bottom and her right arm. The medical staff were all baffled and had no clue what they were which then, in turn meant they couldn’t give us any reassurance.
After two very long days I asked to speak to the Consultant for a proper update. He was lovely and sat us down and said that she was out of danger and as far as they were concerned the marks were nothing to worry about, just birth marks and thankfully none of them were causing major areas of concern. She would still need to be observed in case any of the marks caused her any issue in the future for that that moment she was ok. I cannot describe how I felt. I wanted to hug him and jump up and down but instead I burst into tears and thanked him, a lot.
Later that night Miss C was allowed out of the incubator and into a normal cot but still had to spend the night in NNU being observed. I think that was the first night that I managed to get some sleep, albeit only 3 hours but I could finally stop worrying and relax a little. The next night after visiting I was told that once they had taken photographs of all the marks I could take her back to the regular maternity ward. So about 20:30 I got to bring my little girl back with me. I wheeled her cot along the corridor that I had run up and down non stop for three days in a bit of a blind panic, but when I got her back to that room I wept for a good half hour with pure relief.
The next morning, the nurses did their rounds are were happy for us to be discharged so I got to take my girl home and have all my family together. I am so thankful to the nurses, midwives, breastfeeding staff and all the support staff that helped us through this truly awful time.
Miss C was seen by the Consultant at a month old who compared the marks with the photograph to see if they had changed. They were still there but on the upside, the marks hadn’t got any worse and looked to be fading. She was then seen again at three months old and we got the same report and the Consultant was happy to sign her off from her care.
Miss C is an amazing little lady who is now thriving and you would never know the dramatic start to life she had.