Joseph was my first baby and I had never had a regular pattern of movements during my pregnancy. I put this down to an anterior placenta. At 27 weeks I went into the hospital for monitoring due to lack of movement. All traces were fine and I was allowed to go home. I felt satisfied at this time but this didn’t last long.
I went in again at 31 weeks. Once again all traces were fine and I was left feeling like I was wasting everyone’s time. I was advised this time to come back the next day for a routine scan as protocol when coming in twice or more with reduced movement. I was very excited at the thought of seeing my baby on the screen again. I went back the next day. The sonographer started scanning and there it was; a strong heart beat. I felt so relieved, but this soon changed when the sonographer said she had to leave the room to go and get a colleague. At that moment I knew straight away she had seen something worrying. My eyes filled with tears. After this I was left waiting as they said I would have to wait to speak with my consultant. What was probably only half an hour, felt like a lifetime. When we eventually spoke with the doctors it became clear that our baby would have to be delivered early. I asked the doctor how early and she replied tomorrow or sooner if anything changes. They had discovered through a Doppler scan that there was absent diastolic flow through the cord from the placenta and that our baby who was small for his gestation had IUGR.
Joseph was born the following day by Cesarean section. He was 31+4 weeks’ gestation and weighed 2Ib 11oz.
He went straight on to C-PAP until he had to be ventilated on day 2. He stayed ventilated for 36 hours and we were advised that if it got to 48 hours he would have to transfer to a different hospital. Luckily having this rest on the vent worked and he was then able go back on to C-PAP.
Everything was so worrying. Even waiting for his first poo was such a long and anxious time. He had various long lines in his arms and legs after the first ones failed. He started off on TPN and then was able to have his first taste of milk. Starting with A tiny 1ml per hour. This didn’t last long, his first aspirates from his stomach were green, they had to stop all feeds and leave his stomach to rest. Joseph’s weight by this point had dropped to 2Ib 7oz. He was Jaundiced and had to spend a lot of time under photopherapy.
After a few days rest he was allowed to try milk feeds again. We were so worried that it would happen again but to our amazement he tolerated it. The amount of milk he was able to have started to increase quickly. Joseph by this point was in air and needed no more help with his breathing. It was so lovely to be able to see his face properly without the mask and hat he had to wear with the C-PAP. Joseph was eventually able to try milk for the first time from a bottle. He took a small amount to start with but began doing really well. He was having more and more bottles throughout the day and night. Joseph was just taking Expressed breast milk (EBM) but as it was nearing his time to come home my milk really started to decrease. He was having ¾ EBM and ¼ NP1. We knew he was ready for home after his ROP eye test came back needing no follow ups. He was allowed his first bath and he would not stop pulling out his own feeding tube. On the 12th of August we were asked if we would like to room in for two nights before taking Joseph home.
We were so excited and nervous and jumped at the chance. We had a very tiring and worrying night and I don’t think I slept a wink. But it was so lovely to be with him all the time like we had planned. The following day to our delight we were told that we could take him home!
Our super strong boy came home on the 13th of August 2014. He was 5 weeks old and 36+4 weeks gestation. He weighed exactly 4Ib.
Our boy went from strength to strength at home and began to meet some of his milestones, albeit a little slowly. I always felt happy and so lucky that we had our wonderful son and how well he had done. But was always in the back of my mind how different it could have been if the problem with the placenta had not been picked up on in time. Just before Josephs 2nd Birthday I was started to look for support for parents of premature babies. I came across Spoons. I was feeling a little vulnerable and although he was here and perfect I just needed a little something. I started going to the monthly meet ups and found it so helpful speaking to parents who had been through neonatal care. Months later I started to volunteer for Spoons on the neonatal unit where Joseph had been cared for. I absolutely love it and have met some amazing people.
Fore more information on reduced movement in pregnancy go to Kicks Count