Taking My Baby Home Was The Best Christmas Present Ever – Liz’s Neonatal Story
Liz gave birth to her baby at 34-weeks by emergency c-section, but what followed was a stay on the SCBU, plagued by jaundice, difficulty establishing feeding, weight loss and constant oxygen desaturations
Here, Liz tells us how her saving grace through it all was the outstanding care from the neonatal team, who supported her and her baby.
Pregnacare is proud to support the services of Bliss, the charity for babies born premature or sick, and their families.
Liz’s Neonatal Story
‘I find World Prematurity Day in November incredibly overwhelming as it always brings back such a wave of big and conflicting emotions. My Neonatal Story began on Black Friday 2019 while I was out shopping. I was 34-weeks pregnant, and things had been quite hard. After a difficult time with severe pre-eclampsia and HELLP (Hemolysis, Elevated Liver enzymes and Low Platelets) Syndrome during my first birth, I was under obstetric observation and orders to rest. I began to feel really unwell and took myself home to do so.
Fast forward to 1am, and I was on my way to the delivery ward. I was 4cm dilated with my blood pressure rising and the hospital staff were preparing for another emergency c-section. My daughter Erin was born at 4lb and 14oz, on the 50th percentile - she was breathing on her own by the time I was able to see her, 13 hours after she was born.
Our time on SCBU was plagued with jaundice, difficulty establishing feeding, weight loss and constant oxygen desaturations. I now know many of these things are so normal for neonates, but every step back after a step forward broke my heart. It continued to tear our family apart as I struggled with being both a neonatal mum and a mum to my toddler.
While I watched babies come and go and quickly come off the SATS probe, my baby continued to set off the alarms, keeping us on the ward and unable to move into transitional care. My saving grace through it all was the outstanding care from the neonatal team who supported me, as well as my baby, to make choices that worked for us all.
Eventually one amazing nurse raised the idea of silent reflux with the consultant, and he agreed to try Gaviscon. Within hours, the desaturations stopped and I was able to move into a transitional care room. I thought this was all I had ever wanted, but I spiralled into constant fear about her breathing - I had become so used to the alarm that I stayed awake the whole night watching for the rise and fall of her tiny chest.
The next morning, we had a good conversation with the nurses, and a visit from the doctors to say that as long as we had a weight gain the following day, we could go home! The next day was Christmas Eve. It was the best present ever.
Help And Support Is Available For Those Affected By Premature Birth
The trained volunteers at Bliss are on hand to help you and are there to support families whose little ones need neonatal care, no matter the reason for their stay or how long they are there for.
Support can be given in person or remotely, via the Bliss email and virtual support services. Please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org for support and information via email or video call. More information is available here.
You can also read Kirsty’s premature birth story and our post with tips for parents of babies born full term but sick.