Vikki got in touch with me with her birth story: “I thought you might like to read my birth story and maybe share it with others so they can have an insight into how a normal pregnancy, labour and birth can turn into a neonatal stay within 9 mins.”

My policy with The Giving Birth Series is that every story is valid and every mother has a right to be heard and to share their story. In writing down our stories I believe it, in some way, makes it easier to understand how we feel about what has happened – good and bad. And, in sharing our stories it may help someone to deal with a similar situation.

Because it is such a difficult story Vikki tells me that she has been writing it for a few months but she’s ready to share it now. I hope it has helped her to come to terms with what has happened and it might help some of you too.

Neonatal stay - vikki's Birth story

Neonatal Stay – Vikki’s Birth Story

I feel pregnany quite quickly after my second child was born (she was less than 6 months old when I found out!). The pregnancy was fine they just monitored my blood pressure as with previous pregnancies this would tend to increase near the end but nothing this time.

My waters broke on the 24th June around 11 at night. I rang the hospital and asked if I could stay at home until contractions started but, no, they wanted me in. So off we went, just to be told to go home and come back when contractions started! We returned home and went to bed.

I woke up at 5am with mild pains and thought nothing of it. I got into the bath at 8am to cope with these pains. My husband came in just before 9am and took one look at me and told me to get out. We were going to hospital! He must have had a 6th sense!

We arrived at hospital at 9:35am, I was convinced that we had ages to go and would be told to go home and wait it out, only to be told I was 10cm and needed to push now! 30 mins later Harvey was born with no pain relief! So up until now everything was going great. Baby was born quickly and all seemed to be fine…

Then it went downhill. I haemorrhaged and they couldn’t stop the bleeding so pushed the panic button and the room flooded with doctors. They stuck several IV’s in me to try to stop the bleeding. Meanwhile my husband was holding Harvey and noticed something was not right; he was turning blue and had stopped breathing! Luckily for us a student midwife, who was not allowed to be involved in taking care of my haemorrhage problem, had noticed my husband looking at Harvey oddly. She went over and saw he was blue, grabbed him and put him at the end of the bed while 2 midwives tried to resuscitate him (after 9 mins of being alive).

They got him breathing again but this time he was gasping for breath, like he was struggling to breathe. Again the panic button was pressed for the neonatal team to arrive with a machine. They put him on the machine turned on the heat lamp and put an oxygen mask over his little face. His breathing would not regulate so he was carted off to neonatal.

By this point I was in a daze, so weak from the blood loss that I didn’t really know what was happening but told my husband to go be with Harvey.

After 30 mins my bleeding had stopped and I was allowed to eat but, due to the drugs, I threw it straight up. I was left in the room for another 4 hours and my husband kept coming back to check on me and going back to check on Harvey. I had not held my son since he was born and during this time I just cried for the most part.

Eventually I was taken up to see him. He was attached to so many monitors and under a heat lamp and had now had an IV fitted to give him antibiotics. I was distraught and again just sat in the wheelchair and cried. His breathing was not any better and they didn’t know what was wrong, but this was the first time I could hold my baby properly so I was grateful for that moment.

I was then taken to my ward bed. They had no room on the transition ward (a special ward for mum’s without their babies) so I was surrounded by new mums with their newborns and left there with my husband. This was when it finally hit me that there was a real chance I could lose my baby.

Around 2 hours later we went to visit him again and he was no better still on the big machine with oxygen, I held him again and just wanted him to get better. Later that evening we went back, around 7ish, and he was off the big monitor and moved to a room with 2 other babies. His breathing had settled and he was on a lower percentage of oxygen! We were so relieved! However, we still did not know what was wrong with him.

The following morning we went to visit him again. He was off the oxygen completely but still needed an IV for antibiotics. He had an infection, that much they knew, but they could not pinpoint which one and we were told that he would need a lumbar puncture to rule out meningitis (any parent who hears this just breaks down). We were also told not to watch as it is quite distressing to see your baby in that position, so off we went and then came back to give him huge cuddles. The test failed but they decided not to repeat it as he didn’t show the ‘signs’ of meningitis.

I returned to my bed and was told I could move to the tranisition ward so at least now I was with women who all had babies in neonatal care and we all understood how each other felt.

As Harvey was not with me for pretty much the first 2 days of his life, breast feeding was a disaster my milk didn’t produce and he needed feeding so from day 1. He needed formula but I didn’t care as long as my baby got fed.

Over the next few days he got better and better and was a real little fighter. We got to take him home after 5 days but had to go in twice a day for the next 2 days to have his antibiotics given to him.

We still to this day do not know what infection he had or where he got it but all we care about is that we have a healthy, happy baby and that we are so grateful to the neonatal team. They are amazing – so supportive and lovely bunch of people. I was spending the 2am feed with these people and just sat there chatting to them. They would answer any of my questions and they all want the same thing to help you get your baby home as quickly as possible.

So to any others that may know they will have to stay in neonatel, they are brilliant people who want the best for you and your baby. To any mothers out there who are currently with their babies in neonatal, know they are in the best place and if you have questions for them, just ask and they will support you.

Love Vikki (mum of 2 daughters and 1 son)

Thank you so much Vikki xxx