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31st October – 1 week old today

I’m feeling really positive today…1 week on.  I can’t believe my precious little flower is 1 week old today.  Last Saturday was so frightening and a bit of a blur. The last week has gone so quickly, yet so slow and has been such a rollercoaster. It is such a milestone to reach the 1 week mark, with “touch wood” very few complications, but we’re still taking it day by day…
imageApril today

What a little star she is. I got down to the unit and was told by her nurse for today Andrea that she was coming off CPAP (the oxygen machine, which keeps her lungs inflated).  CPAP covers most of her face and head, so it’s hard to see her properly.  She wasn’t keen when Andrea was taking it off and had a proper tantrum, kicking and screaming.  The CPAP machine has been replaced by high air flow – two little prongs up her nose, which pumps air up her nose.  She will need to work a lot harder to breathe for herself with less support and the oxygen. Andrea said we’ll monitor her for a while; if her heart rate increases or she is struggling she may go back on CPAP, but it’s a step in the right direction!

She also had a good night and her temperature came down and she’s still taking milk, which are all positives.  She’s still on antibiotics for 48hours, but hopefully she doesn’t have an infection.

Without CPAP

Without CPAP

Lisa

I’m feeling a lot more positive today, yesterday was a bit emotional and up and down, but I had a good night sleep (5 hours straight) lovely shower this morning feeling ok.  My BP is still quite up and down and was a little raised this morning, but I’ve had my morning medication so we’ll see…you just can’t predict it.

I also had to have a kidney scan this morning.  This was to see if there were any underlying issues with my kidney function which could be affecting the BP.  The scan looked OK at first view, but the consultants will need to check it.  I’m also back on collecting my urine for 24hours.  I managed to fill the pot before I went to bed, which Phil and I always find quite amusing! I’m now on my second pot…don’t think I’ve got any issues on that front!

Lets see what this afternoon brings…

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Friday 30th October

April today

This morning I was down in NICU when the doctors were doing their ward rounds.  During these you can be present when doctors are discussing your baby, but you need to leave the room when they move on to the next baby.

April 30th October

April 30th October

April is still doing OK, her breathing is stable and she is a proper sleepy head at the moment.  During the night she had a bit of a raised temperature and heart rate, so she has been put on 24 hour and antibiotics.  They have increased her feeds from 3ml breast milk every two hours to 5ml to see how her stomach is coping with the milk rather than just fluids.  If she is sick she may have a little infection, so they would take out the line that is giving her fluids and replace it with a canular as this is the most likely place she’d pick up any infection.

She also had a brain scan yesterday. I spoke with the consultant earlier on and he said they usually do a scan at 1 week old to see if there has been any bleeding on the brain as this is the most likely time for it to occur.  April’s scan showed normal which is encouraging. However, this does not always indicate future problems or brain function, so another scan will be needed at 6 weeks.

Overall she is quite content and stable 🙂

Lisa

My condition is still the same with no improvements.  The consultants keep working with a mixture of drugs to stabilise my blood pressure, but it’s not working well at the moment.  They may also need to look at doing some tests to make sure there is nothing else going on.

Phil and I have a little flat we can stay in…worse than uni halls really, so I actually don’t mind being on the ward with my own room/shower/meals every day.  I’ll hopefully be able to go into the flat on a day when Phil is here so we can be together.

Phil & Lisa with April 30th October

Phil & Lisa with April 30th October

Phil and Eve came to see me and April today and with my Mam being here too,I’ve had some nice company.  Phil took me out for tea too – first bit of fresh air in ages and it was so nice to feel the wind on my cheeks.  Now when it came to the menu it had to be a juicy steak!!  Only problem is I’ve got really bad trapped wind and eating sitting up made it ten times worse…so there was a quick retreat back to the hospital, so I could lie down.  It was nice to escape for a while though!

Let’s see what tomorrow brings!

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Sunday 25th October – Critical Care

The pain I felt when I woke up this morning was horrendous – though still drugged up to the nines.  There was pretty much only one position I could lie in all night from all the wires and drips…and of course the surgery I’d had.

Yesterday evening was quite a haze; I just remember I didn’t really remember anything after the delivery – though whoever used the phrase “too posh to push” should be shot as it is utter tosh!  The pain is unbelievable when the anaesthetic wears off, to roll over, sit up…frankly do anything is excruciating.  When you do eventually manage to stand you feel like your insides are going to drop out on the floor and you have to hold your stomach in place.

All night we had been trying to get down to the Neonatal unit to see our new baby (who remained unnamed at that point), though I was exhausted and just wanted to sleep.  I was still hooked up to 24 hours of the Magnesium Sulphate which makes you drowsy too.  Of course I wanted to see my baby,  but I felt very nervous at that point, the situation felt surreal – almost like I hadn’t had a baby, just an operation.  It wasn’t that I didn’t want to see her,  but after the delivery she was just whisked away and i only got a glimpse of her – I was more concerned with sleeping.  Phil had been down to see her right away, so could show me photos.

meeting April for the first time

meeting April for the first time

However, come 8.30am I was unhooked from some of the monitors and taken on my bed down to neonatal to see her for the first time.  I was so nervous i was like going into a science lab with lots of beeping monitors and incubators all around.  And then i saw her through the glass.  They got me as close as possible, so I could put my hand inside the incubator and touch her.  I wasn’t sure how I was meant to react apart from cry.  I didn’t know what to say to her or do; she just looked so fragile and peaceful sleeping away.  she had lots of wires and loads of machine around her.

I was meant to feel happy, but I just felt so sad and cried – the weeks of uncertainty coming to ahead.  We only spent 5-10 minutes with her before i needed to head back to critical care.  I was so tired and just wanted to sleep and be on my own

Later that day our parents came to visit.  it was emotional seeing my Mam and Dad and i just cried again when i saw and hugged them both.  I was still unable to move and they must have got a shock when they saw the mess I was in.  Phil took them to see the baby individually as only two visitors a time in NeoNatal.  it was quite a daunting experience for them as well; seeing their child go through so much and be in critical care, but also seeing their new grandchild for the first time.

Phil’s parents visited next, with Eve my step daughter.  Phil took Eve to meet her new sister first.  She was a super star and handled the situation very maturely for an 8 year old.  Phil said she put her hands in to touch April and talked to her.  A lot of children would have been too scared.  She also bought April her very first teddy – though she stays with me on the ward as could pose a risk of infection in NICU.

Later in the day, they took the catheter out and I came off the Magnesium Sulphate, which meant i could get out of bed – and a whole new world of pain!  Phil had to lift me off the bed, so I could move and this is the first time the pain really hit.  I could barely walk, let along sit on the toilet.  I’ve never felt anything quite so painful!

Much of the day I spent in bed; feeling empty, emotional and numb.  Wasn’t I meant to feel excited and happy?  It was such a weird feeling; thinking of my new baby and wanting to cry that I couldn’t hold her like a normal newborn.

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April’s birthday

So, early morning 24th October, Phil arrived by my side in the critical care unit.  I have never been so pleased to see someone in my life.  He has been my complete rock throughout the whole experience and I certainly couldn’t have coped with it all mentally without him helping focus on the positives. Go Team Jackson!

Phil always by my side

Phil always by my side

So, the next few hours were basically preparing and waiting for the arrival of Baby Jackson.  When we say critical care, it’s basically intensive care.  I was on a drip with Magnesium Sulphate; this was to try and control the BP a bit more for delivery and also helps the baby’s brain develop.  I was drugged up on painkillers, attached to yet another CTG machine, I had a canular in each arm, monitors on my chest (for heart rate, oxygen and respiration) and BP checks every half hour – as well as the grimmest…a catheter!!  Can’t say it was particularly nice having it, although nice not to worry about getting to the toilet!

We thought we were going to have the C-Section quite early, but then the consultant had been taken poorly and another consultant had to be called in, there were then some other emergencies, so we waited…for what seemed like an eternity.  A ‘normal’ labour would have been too risky for both baby and I, but at that stage I just wanted everything to be OK, so would have done anything the doctors told me!

We never really spoke about the risky, serious side of things too much – of course it has to be considered and we listened to everything the consultants told us, but to actually think of loosing my baby or the fact my life was at risk was too much to comprehend. On reflection I don’t think it really sunk in that Baby had to come out, otherwise there could be further complications and I was potentially at risk of organs failing and all sorts.

Eventually the time arrived and I was taken to theatre…or should I say I hobbled there holding my own  catheter- it was not particularly pleasant.  Phil was taken away to get dressed in scrubs while I was prepped for my spinal injection.  I almost passed out, so it was done quickly and I was laid down…listening to Adele “someone like you” in the background.

Once the team was in place; including doctors from the Neonatal intensive care unit and the gown divide erected, Phil joined me and held my hand.  We held each other tightly looking into each other’s eyes and preying that our baby would be OK when he/she arrived.

A caesarean section is the weirdest thing in the world…knowing all sorts is going on behind the screen and just feeling intense tugging and like someone is standing on your chest.  I was talking to Phil and at some points really struggled to speak from the intense pressure.  We didn’t know the sex of our baby…would it be a “typical man” causing grief, as I had often joked with midwives, or a diva girl trying to get all the attention?

Aprils first photo

Aprils first photo

After lots of pulling and tugging (baby was lying in an awkward position) out they came as the consultant told us we had had a baby girl.  Tears of joy rolled down our cheeks – we had another little girl – we had a baby that was alive! Then we heard her cry for the first time.  We were really surprised to hear her cry, as we didn’t think we would with a premature baby.  She was briefly shown to us, wrapped up with a little hat on and whisked away to Neonatal intensive care unit…and that is the first and last time I saw her that day.

The rest of the day is a blur and I really can’t remember much at all after being transferred from recovery back to critical care…just the blessing that I was still alive and we had a baby that was alive.