Saturday 17 September 2011

Baby D's birth

Having a premature baby is something you never expect or plan for. Having baby D at 33 weeks is something I think I'm only just coming to terms with. I think I've been in a state of shock for the past few weeks, doing what needs to be done without really processing it.

One ordinary Tuesday morning, I went for a check-up with the blood pressure clinic at my hospital. The week before I'd been admitted for 24 hours with high blood pressure, I was put on medication everything was under control but I needed weekly monitoring. I thought I'd chug along to the end of pregnancy pretty comfortably. I went for my first appointment at the clinic, very swollen and thinking they might need to up the meds slightly as I was on a very low dose. Skip decided at the last minute to come with me 'just in case'. We had little Goosey with us. I saw the midwife and my BP was slightly elevated but not too bad, my urine however had 4+ of protein which is high. I knew at that moment that things weren't good. I met up with Skip outside and fought to hold back tears.

I went and saw the renal specialist shortly after and by that time my BP was starting to spike at 160/90. He sent me off to day stay to be monitored for a couple of hours as he was confused why my BP was so different from earlier in the day. Within an hour or so of being at day stay, the midwife had called the doctors in as my BP was going up and up and up. It was decided then I needed to be admitted straight away and they told me I needed to have steroid injections in case they needed to deliver the baby. I never really thought that they'd need to, but agreed to the shots. Soon I was whisked off to a room, little did I know I'd stay in that room for 11 days.

They laid me out on the bed, put two canulas in my arms. By that time my BP was 210/100. They started a drip of magnesium sulfate, a catheter and started IV anti-hypertensive drugs. To be honest, I don't know how long the doctors stayed round my bed. I just remember lying there with a doctor on one side, a midwife on the other and a stream of other doctors coming in and out. The renal specialist coming in and putting his hand on his chin and shaking his head. The obstetrician coming in and introducing himself. A lot of whispering between them.

A doctor from the neonatal unit came in and talked to me about expected outcomes of having a baby at 33 weeks and explaining the NICU. I don't think any of it sank in at all.

A little while later I remember Skip coming back in and being slightly taken aback at me splayed on the bed with drips and catheter.

The talk about doing a C-section that day ceased and I was left alone for a little while. Skip stayed with me until I went to sleep that night.

The next morning, all seemed calm until the renal specialist and his registrar came in and said he wanted to get the baby out soon as my blood tests had shown my kidneys and liver were deteriorating at a fairly rapid rate.

Then the obstetrician came in and went through our options. Before I knew it people were all around me wheeling my bed out and talking about getting Skip into scrubs.

The C-section was quick and quiet and strange. The nurse quickly pushed baby D into my view and then whisked him off before I knew it. Skip followed baby D and I was left on the table to be stitched up by a doctor and her assistant as they chatted about their weekend. All I could think about was D. Was he OK? When could I see him? When could I hold him?

I was wheeled into recovery where I was left lying alone. I have never felt so empty and alone in my entire life as I did then. I asked if I could be wheeled to the nursery but was told no. I was taken back to my room and my temperature was low so I was covered in warm blankets and left alone again. Alone without my baby.

Eventually Skip came back with some photos of little D. It didn't feel real. Six hours after his birth, they finally agreed to wheel me down to the nursery to see my son. I was wheeled into the intensive care unit where a kind nurse explained the ventilator he was on, the drugs they needed to give him, etc. I couldn't touch him and I just looked at this tiny being covered in wires, etc, lying in his humidicrib. The whole experience, the drugs I was on and the warmth of the unit started to make my head swirl and my stomach churn. They took me back to my room and I promptly threw up in a bowl that Skip held.

The next day, I stayed in bed. It wasn't until that evening that I was put in a wheelchair and wheeled down to the nursery. Finally they let me hold him for a couple of minutes. 30 hours after he was born.

The next days were a blur. Each night my BP spiked and I was put on the drip and catheter again. I barely saw my son. By the following Monday, I was off the drips and I started to be able to go down to nursery more and more. I got to feed him with a syringe through his feeding tube and change his nappy through the holes in his humidicrib. Occasionally they let me hold him.

Soon D got well enough to be taken out of the humidicrib. Then he got upgraded again to the next level in the nursery. The next step was to attempt a sucking feed on the breast and bottle. Now, he's taking all he's feed from boob or bottle. This means we'll get to bring him home soon and the whole hospital experience will be over.

Life in the NICU is a lot of hand washing. Mum and dads staring at their babies with a glazed look of love and shock and bewilderment. When a new baby comes in soon after being born, the dad follows with a look on his face like he's been slapped with a cold fish. He looks around, scared at what he's seeing, trying to absorb it all, disbelief that he's there. Within a few days, this foreign place starts to feel normal and you can see them relax into the routine of hand-washing and sitting and watching. Then it's the glimmer of hope that they may take their bub home, one day soon.

The nurses are wonderful and kind. I've been lucky enough to get to know one quiet well. She's sweet and she adores looking after D. She makes me feel welcome each time I walk in. It's the saving grace of this place.

This whole experience has been a wild ride. Not one I'd ever want to repeat. So, so, so different from the girls' births. So different from what I ever imagined it would be like.


  1. My ... God.

    I'm speechless.

    30 hours. That's just, I just cant even imagine what that would feel like to have to wait to see him.

    When my son was born, he had to go to special care for 2 hours, & it was the longest 2 hours of my life.

    So, 30 hours just makes my heart ache on behalf of you.

    You are so strong, & your little family is amazing.

    I can't wait for your little man to come home x

  2. Oh Corinne. You darling girl. What an ordeal. I can't begin to comprehend what you've been feeling. Sending you a huge Hobart ♥ tonight J x

  3. That's phenomenal.
    I'm finding it hard to process so can't even comprehend what you are feeling.
    You are amazing.
    Your girls, your little man and your big man are so blessed to have you.
    It doesn't compare, but when Magoo was hospitalised a lot as a baby I talked myself through it with the knowledge that the bond established with my baby through this trauma was going to be incredible - and it is.
    You will never take your beautiful boy for granted.

  4. Oh Corinne, reading this breaks my heart. It really does. I am so gobsmacked that something like this happened to you. It's the type of thing you never expect to happen and it's impossible to plan for, because it just doesn't give you the chance. The human body is a strange thing indeed and never more so than when it's coping under the strain of growing and birthing and nurturing a whole other human being. You must be sick of living a surreal existence, I can't imagine how trying it is for you and Skip. I do hope all is ok with your liver and kidneys now, it sounds like you and baby D have been in very good hands. Take care hun, thinking of you :o) xo

  5. Corinne I felt every word of this, your heartfelt writing has touched my soul. Its no wonder your BP spiked so much when all you wanted was to be with your baby and after all the trauma you had been through in meeting him so soon. And being a fellow high BP sufferer I was so scared reading those figures I am just so glad you are ok.

    Its been such a rocky start and I can only imagine how your head is spinning. Please take time to let your own emotions heal as well as this had to have been excruciating on your mentally, emotionally as well as physically. Sending you much love xx

  6. I can't begin to imagine what you are going through.
    What can I say to provide you with comfort? Don't know why things can turn on a dime.

    I am glad that D is making progress and you will be home very soon with the newest member of you family.

  7. I have tears in my eyes and the heaviest heart after reading this Corinne. What a start to your darling boy's life. I wish I lived nearer to you so I could offer some actual help, but you know I'm offering support whenever you need it. xxx

  8. I cannot imagine what the ache of wanting to be with your baby but being unable to was like.
    I hope you can get him home asap & that you are starting to feel better after such a horrible ordeal.

  9. Oh Corrine. I'm so happy you and DD are going well after such a traumatic start xx

  10. Tears in my eyes reading this Rinno.... You, C, L, L and D are all very brave souls. Of course you could have never expected this!
    Thanks you for sharing your story, and so happy to hear that you're home and your little man will be with you in your arms there soon.

  11. What a ride you've all been on. Fingers crossed that little DD is out soon and your BP calms down. Sending you all much love. xx

  12. I don't really know what to say!! Such a difficult and unexpected time, especially when it all happened so quickly. Thank god for modern medicine though, eh? Sending you and little DD lots of love xx

  13. Congratulations!

    Amazing. I remember you saying that you didn't feel like packing a bag, because it wasn't happening for a while!

    Hope you and baby are doing well, but as a fellow pregnant mumma I'm quietly freaking out!

    I will put my swollen feet up and pack a bag just in case.

  14. I am so glad that both you and your beautiful boy are well now, after such a difficult time x

  15. I'm glad to hear you made it home. I hope little D gets to come home soon.

    Wishing good health to all in your family.

  16. Your birth story is so moving, I had tears in my eyes. Thank you for sharing your experience and Congratulations on the birth of your son. He is one lucky boy; lucky to be well and lucky to have a mum who loves him so much. Take care, both of you.x

  17. Wow. It's only now that I've had a prem that I read about it everywhere. I am sorry you had to experience a prem birth. My daughter was born in at 27wks. She too got whisked away & I first saw her 6 hours later. I got to hold her 4 days later for the first time. For the next 7 weeks, I was allowed to hold her for one hour per day. 9 long weeks in hospital. She is doing well now but there is still a long road ahead. I don't think people understand what it's like to go through the prem-baby experience, the NICU, the labour experience etc. I don't blame them though, as I never knew this world existed. All that keeps us doing is our little miracles. Hope you are enjoying yours! =)


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