Our beautiful daughter Mae Jacqueline was born on 1st November 2015 at 32 weeks + 5 days weighing 3lb 3oz.
I had gone to the hospital 2 days before for a routine scan and they noticed Mae was smaller than she should be. The consultant told me that I was showing signs of pre eclampsia and was heading towards an early delivery. The nurse injected me with steroids to help Mae’s lungs develop and I was told to return the following day. This was so hard to process as I’d been feeling ok apart from being tired and my legs and ankles had become swollen.
The next day I went back to the hospital and my blood pressure had increased dramatically so I was admitted to the delivery ward. During that day I was monitored closely and was visited by the neonatal doctors and the anaesthetist, we also had a look around the neonatal ward. We were shown round by a lovely nurse sister called Marie. Even at that moment I felt like it was happening to someone else.
The following day the consultant repeated my blood test and advised me that my results had deteriorated and I was developing Help Syndrome. I was told I would be having my baby that day by Caesarean section. I remember feeling numb and in shock, I didn’t feel prepared or ready to have my baby so soon.
The surgery went well and Mae was rushed up to the neonatal ward. I managed to grab a quick glimpse of her beautiful face before they took her. She needed help with her breathing but otherwise she was doing well.
It was the following day when I held my baby for the first time. It was a scary and emotional moment. She was attached to so many wires and monitors and she was so tiny, I was still in shock and could not believe it was happening to us. Even though I knew she was my baby I could not get my head around the fact she was here and I was no longer pregnant.
The nurses were so lovely and caring, they helped us to do Mae’s cares and change her nappy. I felt like I would break her as she was so fragile.
Over the next few weeks Mae continued to improve and gain weight and was moved to Special Care, where I started to breast feed. The nurses continued to offer help, support and encouragement to establish feeding. Everything was going well and Mae was hopefully coming home soon.
On the 18th of November I was admitted to hospital with suspected sepsis but was later diagnosed with Mastitis. I continued to visit and breast feed Mae every day and I started to improve. A few days later Mae was diagnosed with Necrotising Enterocolitis, which is a serious bowel condition that is common in premature babies.
The doctors were quick to treat Mae and she was placed back in an incubator, on a drip and started on IV antibiotics. She was also moved back into the high dependency room. It was such a worrying time for me and my husband, we felt like we had took a massive step backwards. The consultant said they had to stop all Mae’s milk feeds and she would be nil by mouth for approximately 2 weeks.
After a few days Mae started to respond to treatment and was improving, we were so relieved and we knew she was on the road to recovery.
After about 10 days of nil by mouth the consultant re-started Mae’s milk feeds, 1ml an hour through her feeding tube. She tolerated this well over the next few days they slowly increased the amount of milk.
After a couple of weeks I started breast feeding Mae again and we moved into the TC room to establish feeding. I was in TC for 5 nights, Mae had her days and nights mixed up so she was awake most of the night and asleep during the day. The nurses were brilliant and helped me so much and they were a shoulder to cry on when I needed it. Mae started to gain weight and was tolerating her feeds well.
On the 14th of December and after 43 days spent on the ward the consultant told us that Mae was allowed to go home, we were overwhelmed and so pleased we could take our little girl home with us.
One of the hardest things for us to cope with when having a baby on the neonatal ward was going home every night and leaving our baby at the hospital. The house seemed so empty and Mae was on our minds every minute of every day.
Without the help and support from the doctors and nurses on the neonatal ward our little girl wouldn’t be here today. We are so grateful for their help, we owe them everything.
Neoangels were also a massive help to us whilst Mae was in hospital. They helped us with the cost of car parking at the hospital and provided us with meal vouchers for the canteen. We were so grateful for this and it made our time at the hospital that little bit easier.
Mae is 17 weeks old now and is doing well weighing 9lb 10oz, she makes us smile and laugh every day and we can’t imagine our life without her.