Name: Emma Parry
When we fell pregnant with our first child, we were planning our wedding and hadn’t really thought about children. We both knew we wanted a family, but hadn’t decided to start trying- so this was a little shock, albeit a very beautiful shock.
When our daughter was 18 months we started trying for baby number two, the months came and went with no positive pregnancy tests. We began to think it would never happen. One day a light blue line in the pregnant window appeared- we were both delighted.
As the months went on and the bump grew bigger, we were all very excited about the impending birth of “Bubble” as we had named the bump. We had found out at our 20 week scan that we were expecting a little boy- a perfect little brother.
We spent a long time helping Macie to prepare for the new arrival; she was involved in every process, from choosing the cot to helping wash and put away the tiny baby vests and clothes.
Three weeks to go, and we were just on our way to a midwives appointment when I realised that my waters had broken. I didn’t panic and this was exactly the same scenario as baby number one.
The following day- Friday, I arrived at the hospital ready to be induced.
During Friday night, an epidural later and feeling very tired, we met the most fantastic Midwife. She stayed by my side throughout the whole experience,. She has realised that if the Syntocinon drip was increased, the baby’s heart rate would drop, and signified that all was not good within the womb.
Another shift change, another midwife later and I was ready to push. The heart monitor that had been monitoring our baby throughout the whole process had been taken off! The Syntocinon trip had been cranked up, against the advice of the previous midwife, but again we both just put our trust in the professional. Not once did we question why these changes has occurred, you don’t, you think you are in the best possible hands.
After about 40 minutes of pushing I gave birth to the head of our baby boy, I was exhausted. I waited a few contractions until I could summon up the strength to push my little boy out. Once he was out I instantly knew that something was wrong, we waited for the cry, but silence.
What’s wrong I shouted? They began to rub our baby boy, but to no avail. Suddenly the room was full of professionals all panicking and uttering different orders.
I closed my eyes and began to pray. My husband and I just clung to each other as they desperately tried to re-start our baby boys heart.
I will never forget the feeling of helplessness. Here I was on a bed, in a strange place, with legs that wouldn’t move, having given birth to the most beautiful little person but not being able to say hello to him. “We can feel a pulse” somebody uttered minutes later, at which point our brand new baby boy was taken away to the special care baby unit.
The shock suddenly hit us, what was going to happen? Where was our baby? How are we going to tell our family? It is crazy how the mind works in moments of trauma- during the minutes that they were re-starting his heart I had already arranged Sam’s funeral and in my head told all of our family that our little boy had died.
Sam’s umbilical cord had been wrapped tightly around his neck twice, which had been acting as a bungee cord during labour- hence getting tighter during every contraction especially towards the end. He told us that although Sam now had a heartbeat, he was unable to breath for himself and the doctors were breathing for him. He then told us that he would have to be transferred to another hospital as he needed intensive care, a care that our hospital couldn’t provide.
Here I was peering into a travel incubator looking at this tiny boy, who had been growing inside me for the last nine months. The little boy who would kick me at 4am every night, the little boy who was to be the best brother in the world, the little boy that we had all so desperately wanted. I remember so clearly taking a photograph, thinking this would be all I had left of my precious little boy- and with that he was gone. This is when my strong, determined husband crumbled. I had to be strong for the two of us. We talked about the prospect of loosing our child, we talked about the prospect of having a severely brain damaged child. We talked about telling our daughter that she wouldn’t have the baby brother she had desperately been waiting for.
A while later, I am not sure how long, a midwife came in to say that when I could feel my feet and legs again I would be able to follow Sam to the intensive care unit where he had been taken. So telling a white lie, I told her I could feel the needle she was prodding into my legs.
In the special unit, there was our little man was, lying alone, with lots of tubes coming in and out of him. This wasn’t how it was supposed to be. He was supposed to be in my arms, he was supposed to be having his first feed from me, which I so desperately had wanted.
Over the next few days, we spent on an emotional rollercoaster. Sam would come off and go back on the ventilator.
Soon, our consultant informed us that he couldn’t believe how strong Sam had become, and was now able to breath by himself. He did also inform us that he still thought Sam would be on the scale of brain damage, but wasn’t sure to what degree. Mri, brain and Ct scans later showed that Sam had no major long term damage.
Our little boy is now Three years old, and is as bright as a button. There are days when I just look at him and cannot believe that he is here with us. He is an absolute miracle, and without the staff and technology at The Royal Sussex Hospital our little man wouldn’t have had the life that he leads now. We will be eternally grateful for all of their hard work and expertise.