Delivering a Special Care Baby

Monday, 7 August 2017

When you think about the birth of your baby, you think about 'will there be forceps? will I be cut front to back? and at worst case will I have an emergency c-section' never do you think that your baby will be in intensive care especially after a "text book" pregnancy.

However I wanted to share my story about our experience as it may offer some comfort to anybody who is going through the same thing. And as this is sort of my online diary I wanted to get pen to paper as such whilst it's still relatively fresh, as this is the journey of how our little babe came into the world.

So, following on from my amazing waterbirth the midwife started to perform the standard newborn tests and slowly one by one poor Archie was failing them. First his hearing (this is pretty standard due to all the gunk that goes with birth) then his blood sugar levels where low which was worrying as he was born on 97th percentile, then his oxygen pre and post his heart, it was dangerously low post which meant his lungs were not working to their full capacity.
On this our midwife quickly summons a cot and he was wheeled off to the neonatal intensive care unit quickly followed by Tom. Unfortunately I was too weak to walk, so had to slowly make my way up to the unit. The staff are amazing and kept me so calm that it didn't really hit me till I entered the assessment room. The little babe that was sprawled across my chest moments before was now in an open incubator being worked on my a whole team of doctors, consultants and nurses. Tubes and wires inserted all over his tiny body whilst multiple blood tests where drawn. I remember feeling so helpless and emotional, we waited until we spoke to his consultant who explained that he needed to be kept in the unit on high Dependancy for the next few days, he went into detail about potential problems that Archie may have but we needed to wait for tests,scans and bloods to be returned. Dazed and drained we headed back to the delivery room where we had him on our own, the room that was so joyous felt sad and empty, as we lay there in silence waiting to be moved to our own room and wondering how our baby was.
Eventually at 8pm we were moved into our own room off the main postnatal ward. Both exhausted and only room for me to sleep we decided it was best that Tom went home to catch up on some sleep as we knew we had a long week ahead of us. I'll never forget opening up my suitcase that night and seeing the tiny "going home" outfit all ironed on top along with a little grey bunny my mum had bought him. I think that's when it hit me, that and hearing the cries of all the other babies on the ward outside. Why couldn't I have my baby with me? I spent the whole night crying into the little bunny.

The next day when Tom arrived we went up to the unit and spent the whole morning sat next to his incubator. They cover the incubators in thick duvets so you can't see in very well but it was nice to know he was next to us.
After the doctors and consultants had done their rounds they decided that it would be OK for Archie to have skin to skin with just me. I really felt for Tom, he was going through the same pain as me but was still unable to hold his baby.
It took two nurses to transfer him on to my chest, when I held him it was so emotional and I never wanted to let go. I only had an hour with him as not to stress him too much, but my god it was amazing! I think the photos say a thousand words.
That evening Tom went home and I sat next to his incubator all night, chatting to the other mums in the unit who were doing the same. The nurse we had on that night was brilliant and we slowly turned his oxygen down to see how he coped which he did brilliantly. It was so good to see him coping so well. She said that if we could get it down then he would have a good chance of being 'normalised' the next day following the consultants rounds.
I went back to my room, and got some rest and waited till 7am when I knew Tom would be back. We went up to the unit and our little boy was in a hospital cot with less wires, they had normalised him. We hid our relief and joy as we were in a room full of sick babies who were not so lucky and the desperate parents that was once you. The nurses spent the day with me establishing feeding and closely monitoring his progress until an emergency came  on to the ward and we are moved down the corridor from high Dependancy to special care. The room was so full and we were squeezed into a corner, I couldn't take it anymore & begged them to let me have him in my room with me as he was only on antibiotics through his canula for suspected sepsis although nothing was confirmed as we needed to wait for bloods to come back.

They let me have him in my room and it was amazing, just how it should be after childbirth sat in a hospital bed having skin to skin.
We were eventually discharged on Father Day and now have a happy and healthy almost 8 week old baby.

I wanted to share my experience so if their are any parents going through a similar experience that you are not alone and if your pregnant that it's ok if your journey doesn't go to plan not to worry.

If you have any questions then don't hesitate to comment or contact me privately. 
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