I’m not ashamed or afraid to hide behind mental health. If you have read my blog I’ve shared some dark times. When I was pregnant with Jasper, the decision was made to keep me on the highest dose of mood stabiliser. The pros outweighed the cons, with little risk to a baby in utero, a happy , healthy mum was what was needed and after pregnancy any issues were to be dealt with.
The first night was hard, it was mainly about me and the potential for there to be more blood clots. Jaspers checks came back satisfactory and his sugar levels were holding their own. That night everyone’s babies around me screamed and beckoned for milk constantly, mine didn’t – and I felt quite smug about this! Of course I roused Jasper myself and tried to get him to feed, and he would. But it was painfully hard, he would fall asleep so easily, stripped,clothed, nappy or no nappy he just wanted to sleep. When he did feed he was extremely sickly, it seemed even so much as a touch triggered vomit, – I’m no stranger to a refluxy baby so I made sure I kept him as upright as I could, winded him well and did all I possibly could.
The next morning rolled round and there was still lots of commotion surrounding me however things changed with Jasper, he was overly jittery, it wasn’t just the jitters he was having tremors.
The paediatrician was called and he was taken away from me. It was a good 45 minutes before she returned; and she came back alone. She informed me that Jasper had been taken to Neonatal Intensive Care, they wanted to monitor him and put him on IV’s. He was withdrawing from my medication and he couldn’t hold his feed, he was now unsettled and his sodium levels were low requiring treatment.
When she told me this my heart sunk. I hadn’t visited NICU since that same day that I first walked the corridors nearly four years earlier to meet my baby girl for the first time. The thought of going there again made me feel sick.
I sat in my room and I sobbed. I was a mess, I knew Jasper wasn’t unwell, he needed time, that wasn’t why I sobbed. I sobbed because again I was sleeping in a room without my newborn baby, the same fate that had happened when I had Ava and it conjured up thoughts and feelings I had learnt to hide over the years. The nicu nurse asked me to come and see Jasper. I reluctantly agreed and my legs felt like jelly as I walked through the doors, I was greeted by noises of machines bleeping, it took me back to a time when I didn’t know what any of those noises meant, and now? I can distinguish between a sats machine, a ventilator, IV machine and so much more!
My tiny little boy was settled, he was swaddled, he was fed and he was warm. At the point were I felt I could relax and tell myself to stop overthinking the emergency alarm sounded. If there’s one thing that can set off my PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) then it’s the noise of that alarm. It’s the same in pretty much every hospital I think, and I’ve had it be pulled on Ava endless times and sometimes she has been close to slipping away.
I started to panic and asked the nurse to take me back; by the time I got back to my room, I was sore, I had lapsed on my morphine and my head was spinning. Luckily, I didn’t have long to wait till the other half arrived and he came with Ava.
As luck would have it, the nicu nurse cane round and asked me if I wanted Jasper to come to my room for a visit. He could stay with me and they would take him for obs and meds and then take him back in a couple of Hours. The nurse knew how distressed I’d become being round on the unit. She brought me my baby and he was so peaceful and I was back in my baby bubble.
After a few hours had passed the nicu team said that he could stay with me; they were happy he was improving enough to not need to be on the unit. I was thrilled and I spent the whole evening with him in my arms and I didn’t put him down once!
The next day nicu discharged him from their care and advised that he scoring much lower now in terms of withdrawal and I could notice a huge difference with this in mind he was now mine to enjoy! He wasn’t allowed to go more then two hours without feeding so I had to make sure he was fed regardless and monitor how much he was taking.
He was still a tricky feeder but after getting the all clear with regards to my clots I was able to finally go home 4 days after he had been born.
My newborn bubble was perfect. He was a dream baby except I still had a niggle, he was only taking 30mls Of feed and was still very sleepy. At this point he was very noticeably clinical jaundice, but before we left they tested him and deemed that his levels were low enough to not require treatment.
Two nights passed and he was feeding less and less. I called the community midwife who called the hospital; they advised us to take him in to be checked and we did.
When we arrived the paediatrician wasn’t happy with his tone, or how he was feeding, he immediately sent us to nicu and there he was cannulated antibiotics started and a feeding tube put in place.
They wanted to treat him for an infection and start phototherapy for his jaundice. The only plus was that this time he was able to stay with me and every 6 hours he would go for his antibiotics then come back to me. We spent just over 36 hours in hospital again monitoring, worrying and generally feeling so run down and deflated worrying about my family at home.
When I finally got to take him home for the second time I was thrilled. He has stayed home since. His jaundice has all cleared. There’s still a slight glow but nothing like the Simpson he once was. Life with four under four could begin?
Boy were we in for a ride!