Sunday the 26th March 2017 was a very special day for me; my first ever Mother’s day. Waking up and looking at my gorgeous Noah I felt blessed – but it was also my induction day. Would I be a mother of two by midnight?
I headed into the hospital at 10am, and it was simply a waiting game for a spot on the delivery suite because I’d had a Bishops Score of 9 since the previous Monday! By 3pm I was in my room, and at 3.30 they broke my waters. I felt much more in control during this labour than with Noah, I was pretty calm for the majority of it, and coping well on gas and air as a result. Things progressed quickly, but it wasn’t until the final hour and a half that things started to get a bit much and I was begging for my epidural!! As it was, the epidural didn’t even have a chance to work before I was pushing and George Luke came into our world at 23.46, weighing 7lb 14oz 💙
All seemed fine for a few minutes, but he was found to be struggling to breathe, and he was rushed to NICU (the neonatal intensive care unit). He stayed there for 2 hours whilst I was being patched up, so I couldn’t be with him, but his Daddy wouldn’t leave his side. They couldn’t find anything really ‘wrong’ other than his breathing being laboured, so after a couple of hours he was brought back to me, much to my relief.
However, once we were transferred to postnatal, his breathing continued to be a concern, and a few hours later they decided he needed to go back to NICU for further investigation. I was so scared. We weren’t anticipating this. I know you never do, but we hadn’t even considered an issue, it was terrifying. A chest x-ray revealed a pneumothorax – a leaking of air from one of his lungs into his chest cavity. It was small though, and they were confident with oxygen input in an incubator that it would heal itself. Not having your baby with you after giving birth…it’s indescribable. It’s like a part of you is missing. That combined with the worry, it’s a really horrible experience.
He began the next day on 48% oxygen, and didn’t seem to be improving as quickly as they’d have liked. His pneumothorax on the other hand had decreased, it was just the general immaturity of his lungs that was still causing problems. Throughout the day though, he came on leaps and bounds, and by evening he was on 22% (normal oxygen input is 21%) and his sats were stable. I even managed to have a few precious skin to skin cuddles!
In some ways, by the end of the day the thing was was reducing me to tears the most was being apart from Noah. I knew George was in the best place, and doing well, but I have never been away from Noah for more than a couple of hours, and at only 11 months old I couldn’t explain to him what was going on. Thinking about him at all left me a blubbering mess! I felt like a mum of two who had neither boy with me, and completely torn.
Over the next two days, George was coping well on 22% oxygen. So painstakingly close to the 21% of natural air that would mean he was ok to leave the incubator, but not quite there. He was having repeated tests on his jaundice levels, and had to be switched to tube feeding overnight to give his little body a rest, but in general was doing really well. His third chest x ray revealed his pneumothorax had completely healed. But time was ticking..the hospital have a policy that mum can stay on the postnatal ward until day 5 (they counted day 1 as Sunday even though he was only born 14 minutes before midnight) so I knew if George wasn’t ready to join me by later on the next day, that I would most likely be discharged and need to go home without him – which has always been my worst nightmare. That night was an uneasy one.
The next morning I rushed down to NICU the second I woke up, to find that George had coped all night on normal oxygen input! All his test results were coming back fine, and he’d been feeding nicely. The next few hours were a whirlwind, but by lunchtime we had been released to a normal ward on postnatal..together! It also meant that Noah and George could finally meet.
That right there? The best moment of my life. Both boys, together, happy and HEALTHY. I’ll treasure those photos forever.
We needed to stay on postnatal overnight to be sure that there were no setbacks, but at lunchtime on day 6, we were finally allowed to go home, to begin life as a family of four. What a crazy, stressful, overwhelming few days…but now I’m home, I’ve never been happier. Welcome to our world George, you are the PERFECT addition to our family.