Lisa's reflective account of Day 0....

Having read Phil's diary today, I have reflected on the events of this weekend/monday from my (a mother's) perspective. It's been very difficult for me to write this as it brought back many emotionally difficult memories; but I thought it was important to support Phil in him re-living our 123 day journey with Theo. I haven't read all of Phil's Diary yet but will be doing so on here....

All weekend I had convinced myself that everything would be ok and even though I was continuously having contractions 4-7 minutes apart, that these would stop and I’d be able to go home, grow my baby and come back to the Hospital around my due date of 30th September. By the Monday morning I was really in pain, I couldn’t even sit down to eat my breakfast it was too painful. My pain score had gone from 3/10 on Friday to 7/10 on Monday morning and I was having more painkillers.

As a nurse I hated being a patient and staying in bed, so every morning I was up showered, dressed and made my bed, Monday morning was no different. We had waited all weekend for a scan, it is completely ridiculous that they don’t scan at a weekend especially at a high risk hospital??!! We walked down because I didn’t want to wait any longer for a chair. I wanted to know what was going on with my baby! When we realised he was going to be born, I was more upset with myself that I had been in complete denial. I usually know my body so well but not this time. I had let myself, my family and the precious baby we had longed for so much, down completely. My husband and sister were so supportive, being in labour at 25 weeks was scary but not nearly as painful as full term labour. I had one dose of a steroid injection and an infusion of magnesium but it was too close to his delivery for them to have any effect. The magnesium infusion was awful, It made me feel so hot and my heart felt like it was erratically beating out of my chest; all normal apparently. The NICU doctors came to see us to explain what would happen once he was born, I felt calm and able to ask all the questions I had. I was so grateful that they came to talk to us. The main thing I wanted to know was that they would definitely resuscitate him and not say after he was born that there was nothing they could do. I felt confident that our baby would be in the best hands. I felt like I needed to pee so badly, I wasn’t allowed to go to the toilet so asked for a catheter because it was making me so uncomfortable. I must’ve gone into subconscious urinary retention to hold the baby in because a litre of urine was drained.

I stayed on my left side as long as I could because it was the most comfortable position, each contraction was getting worse. I could feel that he was coming but I didn’t want our baby to be born without the baby doctors in the room because he needed them immediately.

I asked the midwife to get the doctors here, I don’t think she believed that he was coming just yet, 3 more contractions went by until I shouted at her to get the doctors here now. I could feel that I wanted to push and was literally trying my best to hold him in. They all came in, I rolled onto my back and he was born fully in his waters.

We had a baby boy! The doctors were working hard to stabilise him and get him on the ventilator. They gave him surfactant which helps with his lungs as he is too premature to make his own.

We hadn’t decided on a name yet but I didn’t want him to be without a name. Theo came into my mind, I’m not sure where from. I asked Phil if we could call him Theo and he agreed. He and my sister were crying, I was in shock I think. It was all so surreal.

Before they took Theo to NICU, the consultant let me see him and touch his head. He was attached to a breathing tube and so tiny. I didn’t want him to stay long, I wanted him to go and get the care he needed on NICU but I was really grateful for the glimpse of him. After he went I had a shower, it was the hottest day of the year and I asked if we could go outside. We had an ice cream, there were lots of people around, they had no idea that I had just had a baby who was now fighting for his life. It was so strange. I wanted to go and see Theo before Jack came that evening because I knew it would be emotional and wanted to explain to Jack what it was like on the unit. Phil, my sister and I went to see him, he was so tiny, had tubes everywhere and a machine breathing for him. I could only apologise to him, I was so sorry for letting him down. It should be me looking after him safely in my tummy not these machines, Drs and nurses!

The nurse congratulated us for having a new son, I didn’t feel like I should be congratulated. I had failed my baby. Jack was brought up to the hospital, we explained that he had a new baby brother called Theo but that he was really poorly because he was so early. Jack was so grown up and handled everything so well. We took him to see Theo and he was such a proud big brother. He wheeled my chair to and from the unit and was sure not to crash me into anything.

The NICU nurse gave me an expressing pack so that I could start expressing milk for Theo and we also got some bonding squares, a small knitted square, one for me and one to put in Theo’s incubator so that we could be together from a distance.

Phil and Jack went home for the evening as they couldn’t stay on the ward. After they had gone I reflected on the day and cried and cried and cried.....

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