I woke this morning to the sound of my radio alarm as normal. I half heard a news article about new statistics showing that 100 babies a year die due to be born out of normal working hours. I pressed snooze and rolled over.
Driving to work I heard the same news piece and being awake was able to listen. The evidence says babies born out of normal working hours are more likely to die if they need special assistance, in particular due to oxygen starvation. I got a lump in my throat and began welling up with my own horrific flash backs. How poignant this should be mention just 48 hours before H’s 2nd birthday.
This time 2 years ago I was on the countdown, 11 days overdue, I had already had a sweep and was due to be induced the next day. I was apprehensive, although I already had B, she was a planned section due to being breech – I felt like I should have felt the 1st time round, not knowing what was to come.
Those who know me or have read other posts know the story, I was induced and all was going well, but in the early hours of 18th July 2008 things went wrong. It was known by me, something was wrong, I felt it. I was rushed to theatre and put under a general anaesthetic as time was the key. I prayed, let her live no matter what happens to me – the one and only time in my life I have embraced the idea that death could be round the corner.
When I woke, I knew H must be fine, because I was sure I wouldn’t have survived if she hadn’t. I was expecting her to be lying beside me, but she wasn’t there. Panic set in, I didn’t care how I was, I wanted my baby. I was told she was in SCBU due to being starved of oxygen, as my womb had torn and she had been delivered into my stomach cavity. At this point she was breathing for herself. A few hours later she was put on a ventilator and had to be sedated as she was fighting against it. I was told to be prepared as no one knew what would happen.
The first time I saw my daughter she looked like a doll, the only movement being her lungs as the ventilator did it’s job. It didn’t feel real that just 24 hours earlier she was inside me, being active and healthy. It was hard, she was on the ventilator only 12 hours, although we had been told to expect her to be on it for at least 48 hours. I never once let myself believe she wouldn’t survive. The staff were fantastic, they answered all my questions and were completely honest. She could be brain damaged if she survived, she may take a long time to catch up with mile stones. As long as she lived I would deal with anything.
She lived of course and although now my flash backs to those awful, yet joyful days don’t happen so frequently, this is the time of year I feel it most. The memories are as vivid as if they were yesterday. The heart ache is as strong, maybe stronger now than when she was born. I don’t know what I would have done had she been one of those in the statistic that’s come out today. What I do know, is that the the midwifes, paediatricians and SCBU nurses at Peterborough SCBU and Maternity Ward did an amazing thing 2 years ago and they don’t get enough praise. They continue without question, to help new born babies over come what is a very difficult start to life and I for one can’t thank them enough.
Two years on and H is a happy, chatty, well developed little girl. She is very intelligent for her age and has so far hit every development stage early or on time. It amazes me a child who would have most probably been still born only 10 or 15 years ago, now shows no signs of the start she had. My heart goes out to anyone who has lost a child, I am so thankful I am not one of those, but I can begin to imagine the awful pain that parents go through.
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