Day 0 - Monday 19th June 2017 - (25+2 week gestation)

After three days of being on the antenatal ward at St Mary's Hospital, our Baby Boy, Theo Phillip Juniper was born at 14:12pm weighing 1lb 14oz...... 15 weeks earlier than expected but alive and kicking..... literally.... he had kicked his way out......

I feel really let down by the antenatal staff that were on over the weekend.... Lisa had clearly been in labour since we arrived at the hospital on Friday afternoon. She even had a test that said she was in Labour! I was telling the nurses and doctors all weekend that the baby was coming but they didn't believe me!!

Lisa asked the doctor on Sunday if they thought the baby could be funnelling its way out, as her cervix was still closed but it felt like the baby was kicking down below and was almost coming out..... the doctor said that it was a possibility, but that they can only see that from a scan; and they don't scan on a weekend!!..... What???? Lack of resources apparently!!

I had to leave Lisa on the antenatal ward again on Sunday night (even though I begged to stay), so I ended up stopping in the carpark and didn't sleep a wink, I was worried to death that Lisa was going to have the baby on the bed...... she has got such a high pain threshold. I was telling the nurses and doctors that she was 8cm with Jack before she started making a fuss, and he was 8lb 2oz full term!

I went back to the ward on Monday morning and we had to wait until 9:30am before we could walk down for the scan (and sit in the waiting room for 30 mins!). As soon as the lady put the scan probe on to Lisa, you could see his legs almost coming out of the cervix..... she had 0.5mm left!!!!

By the time Lisa got wheeled up to the delivery suite it was too late to stop it or slow it down..... the midwife in the delivery suite was nice, but she clearly wasn't expecting to be delivering a 25 week baby that had not been properly prepared when she woke up this morning.... 

Even though we had been there since Friday afternoon, I don't think the delivery suite were expecting us either..... we were put in a side room (for emergencies) and it seemed like it took ages to get the steroids and magnesium sorted out..... I was so focused on getting them as we knew how important they were to protect his brain and lungs!!!....

A senior doctor came in to see us and said she was "so, so sorry that they didn't identify the baby was coming sooner"..... I asked her if the baby was going to survive and she looked at me in hope and said "we are going to do everything that we can".... I couldn't believe what I was hearing!!

I was absolutely fuming with the whole situation, but I had to stay calm for Lisa..... if they had listened to us the labour could have been potentially slowed down or even stopped and we could have been given the steroids for his lungs and magnesium for his brain in plenty of time to make a difference..... 

I know its easy to point fingers when emotions are high, but I truely believe that the failures made by the antenatal unit (especially the doctor that was on duty on Sunday), in not believing us when we said he was coming, and not giving Lisa the steroids or Magnesium, have put our little boy's life and future at major risk!! And not scanning on a weekend.... that is just a joke!!

Lisa's sister (Leanne) arrived to support Lisa because their mum was in Australia visiting her other sister and new Baby. We hadn't told her mum as we didn't want to spoil her holiday or panic her. Leanne couldn't believe it either, it was such a surreal situation, Lisa had been out for a baby shower on Thursday night and then at work all day Friday, and now we were sat in a delivery suite worried to death as to whether the baby would survive!!

The NICU consultants came in and spoke to me and Lisa. They were great, they put our minds a little bit at rest. Lisa asked them if they would resuscitate him if he wasn't breathing when he came out..... They said yes, they would do everything they could for him..... They were referring to the baby as "he" and "him"..... they clearly knew what we were having..... the consultant then asked if we knew and we said "we do now" lol..... they still put a little pink hat and a little blue hat on the resus table though 😁

After a while Lisa started to show pain.... she told the midwife that the baby was coming and to press the emergency button...... but the midwife didn't believe her because she couldn't see anything and was reluctant to press it.... next thing Lisa shouted "PRESS THE BUTTON!!"... she then pressed it and the consultants came running in within seconds.....

As soon as they came in Lisa rolled on to her back and Theo came out in seconds..... still in his sack!! It was unreal, the doctor caught the sack in her hands and then they gently clamped the cord and cut it free, so as not to tear she carried the sack over to the resus table you could see him moving around inside; I couldn't contain my tears.... Lisa asked if he was ok and I told her he was moving around and looked ok..... it was so emotional..... once they cut the sack open they were straight in with the tubes to intubate him and they stabilised him within a couple of minutes.... although it felt like hours!

After what seemed like a life time, the consultant told us we had a beautiful baby boy and that he was doing ok; they then got him wrapped up, put him in to a transporter and took him straight off to intensive care.... he was so, so tiny (850 grams) but he looked perfect!....Lisa got to put her hand in the transporter and touch his head for a second as they went past.... I was a blubbering wreck, along with Leanne!!!

After about an hour, Lisa asked if we could go outside for some fresh air while we waited.... she was clearly upset and was blaming herself for everything!! It was the hottest day of the year, so we grabbed a wheelchair, some ice creams and we all went and sat in the sun for an hour..... you wouldn't expect to see somebody outside having an ice cream after an hour of giving birth, but aside from looking tired, you would never have guessed she'd just had a baby!!

It was a long wait until we could see him again (5:15pm), but as soon as the doctors said we could, we were there.... We were only able to spend a short period of time with him as they were still working on him. He had a plastic bag over him to keep his skin wet and there was a breathing tube down his throat which was breathing for him. There are lots of wires all over him and he's hooked up to a couple of machines that keep alarming every few minutes..... it all looks pretty scary!

I don't remember seeing or talking to anybody in the room, I was just focused on my poor little baby boy and praying that he made it through the day!... we then went back to the delivery suite because Jack was on his way to the hospital with his friend's Dad. He had been stopping with his friend since Friday after school... I did bring him up to see Lisa on Sunday afternoon, but he didn't know what was going on really.....

I met Jack outside and then took him up to the delivery suite..... I must of looked a right mess!! The first thing he asked when he got in the room was "is the baby ok" and was looking at Lisa's belly..... so we sat him down to tell him the news.....

He didn't really understand what had happened so we took him to meet his tiny little brother for the first time..... He was in shock, as we all were, but was being really brave and grown up.... he held Theo's hand and told him to be strong ❤❤

We told him what he was called.... it wasn't a name we had all discussed, it was said for the first time by Lisa just after he came out, Jack loved it though.... Theo Phillip Juniper ❤❤ 'Theo' means 'God Given'..... fitting to say the least!!

Theo was a little more stabilised when we went back to see him the second time and I put my finger in to hold his hand..... his whole hand wrapped around the tip of my index finger; he was to small..... he had a micro nappy on and it was massive on him. He looked perfect, so cute with a little button nose; and he's got massive hands and feet compared to the rest of him.... takes after his dad there 😁

The doctors said he looked in really good shape for a 25 weeker, but that the first couple of days are always the honeymoon period..... He said that there were going to be a lot of ups and downs over the next few weeks and we should just take every day as it comes.... I know he's strong though, so he'll be ok ❤❤❤❤

There were another 7 babies, 5 nurses and 3 consultants in the room, clearly very busy..... The nurse looking after him was really nice; she took a picture of us all.... our first family picture ❤❤ 👨‍👩‍👦‍👦 ❤❤

We stayed with him as long as we could and then Jack and I had to go home which was really difficult for us both.... we just wanted to stay with Lisa & Theo but we weren't allowed to stay on the antenatal ward. 😢😢

Jack slept in bed with me tonight and cuddled me all night (which he's not done for a long time). I was so exhausted, but I hardly sleep a wink thinking about baby Theo..... and listening to Jack's snoring ❤❤

I hope he's going to be ok! He's so tiny.... 😢😢

Thanks for reading, please share this blog with everyone you know to extend it's reach....

Subscribe to our page to receive a notification of the next blog.... You can donate to our two amazing charities at:

#RonaldMcDonaldHouseManchester #StMarysNICUManchester #Theosnicujourney