Pregnancy & Parenting

‘Reach Out For Support To Those Around You’ – Emily And Heidi’s Story

Vitabiotics | Published: 20/02/2023

‘Reach Out For Support To Those Around You’ – Emily And Heidi’s Story

Emily gave birth to her daughter Heidi at full term, one day before her due date. She shares details about her traumatic experience of Heidi being admitted to neonatal care and offers advice to other parents of babies born at full term but sick.

Pregnacare is proud to support the services of Bliss, the charity for babies born premature or sick, and their families.

Support From Bliss For Babies Born Full Term But Sick

While we may think that neonatal care is only for babies born prematurely, over 60% of babies admitted to neonatal care in the UK are born at full term, like Emily’s daughter Heidi.

While some babies born at full term but admitted to neonatal care may only spend a few days on a unit, and others much longer, they all need the same specialist care as premature babies. Their parents’ will also have the same practical and emotional needs and need the same care and respect.

The trained volunteers at Bliss are there to support families whose little ones need neonatal care, no matter the reason for their stay or how long they are there.

Read Heidi And Emily’s Story

My daughter Heidi was born on 28 December 2020 at 6:57am, one day before her due date. I had suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum (HG, excessive nausea and vomiting), throughout my pregnancy and had regular growth scans all of which confirmed a healthy baby.

There was meconium in my waters and the midwife requested an ambulance transfer from the birthing unit to another hospital, where there were doctors who would be able to help.

However, the ambulance was cancelled as they were only able to accept life-threatening incidents. After Heidi’s birth concerns grew around her lack of interest in feeding - she was also vomiting, and very lethargic.

She soon developed a rash across her body and kept bringing up mucous. An ambulance was called twice more and each time cancelled as we still didn’t qualify as urgent enough.

Our midwife contacted the A&E department at the hospital we were at, but they said they were unable to help her because Heidi needed specialist neonatal care and there were no paediatricians currently on shift to provide an assessment.

24 Hours After Giving Birth

24 hours after I gave birth, a doctor came to see Heidi on the unit and this was when sepsis was first mentioned. The doctor said our baby was very poorly and we needed to get her to a hospital 40 minutes away immediately.

She explained that we still wouldn’t be able to get an ambulance transfer and that we would have to get her there ourselves. It was terrifying driving her there - I was so worried she would bring up mucous and choke again or vomit. This time there were no emergency alarms, midwives or resuscitation to help save her if we needed it.

However, we arrived safely at the hospital and the consultant assessed her immediately and took her straight down to SCBU.

We had some difficulty being admitted onto the unit as we had come from another hospital, and there were concerns we might be bringing Covid-19 onto the ward as she hadn’t been born at this hospital.

Luckily the consultant insisted Heidi needed to be here and we were admitted to the HDU. Heidi was very dehydrated by this point and immediately had a cannula with fluids, a feeding tube and antibiotics started.

Heidi Has Now Made A Full Recovery

Fortunately, Heidi responded really well to the antibiotics quickly and made a full recovery. I found our time at SCBU very traumatic and it’s taken a long time to accept what happened, but we are so grateful now that we have a happy, healthy and full-of-life toddler now.

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Emily and Heidi
Emily and Heidi

Emily’s Advice To Parents Of Children Born Full Term But Sick

My advice to you would be to reach out for support to those around you. Being on the unit can be a very isolating experience and although people want to help, sometimes they don’t know what you need, so you need to tell them!

You can also read our tips for parents of babies born full term but sick.

Help And Support Is Available For Those Affected By A Stay In Neonatal Care

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 for support and information via email or video call. More information is available here.

Pregnacare supports Bliss

Meet the Author

Gill Crawshaw

Gill Crawshaw

Copywriter / Editor of TalkMum Blog

Gill Crawshaw

Copywriter / Editor of TalkMum Blog

Pregnancy and parenting editor and writer, mum of two Gill Crawshaw is the editor of the TalkMum blog, and a writer who specialises in pregnancy and parenting. With over 18 years experience in digital content creation, she also writes the blog A Baby On Board, which covers the parenting journey. Gill has two tween-age children and lives in south London.

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Gillian Crawshaw

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