My daughter Chloe was born at 24 weeks gestation. Everything had been perfectly normal all the way through my pregnancy, but on Thursday 15 May 2014 I felt unusually tired and not quite right. My husband was at work so I decided to have an early night, but by the time he arrived home at 2.00am I was having pains. I didn't want to believe that it was happening as we’d had a miscarriage the year before at 14 weeks, we couldn’t be losing another baby.
My husband convinced me to ring NHS direct for advice, and we were told to take ibuprofen and to go to the doctors in the morning, but the pains started to get worse so we went to hospital. We went to our local A and E where we waited for what seemed like a lifetime. We were finally seen and sent straight to the delivery suite where I was examined by several doctors, they told me that I was three centimetres dilated and needed to be transferred to another hospital.
The choices were either a helicopter ride to Glasgow which was 400 miles away from us, or to Norwich by ambulance which was about 100 hundred miles. After a long wait we were transferred to Norwich by ambulance. During this time I was given medication to help stop my labour, but after 18 internal examinations I was told that the baby was coming and there was nothing they could do about it. I was given medication to help speed up my labour, as well as steroid injections for my daughter’s lungs and a magnesium drip for her brain. I was told it would be horrible for me but best thing for the baby, and it really was awful!
After a total of 27 hours labour Chloe was born weighing 1lb 9oz. We managed to have a look at her before she was rushed to NICU, but were able to go and see her properly a couple of hours later. She was on a ventilator and we were told that she’d had two bleeds in her brain. We were also told that the reason my labour had started was due to an infection caused by listeria - food poisoning!
We were at Norwich for a total of six weeks. Chloe had to be resuscitated several times during her stay and used various different types of breathing machines. We were told she had Chronic Lung Disease and a Patent Ductus Arteriosus (heart condition) that wasn't improving by itself.
We were transferred back to our local hospital on breathing support, but because Chloe needed an eye test we also had to visit two other hospitals to have laser surgery and injections on her eyes. She had to be resuscitated several times due to her reacting to her immunisations.
She was finally discharged from hospital on 22 September on home oxygen - we were so pleased to be finally home.
However, at the end of October Chloe developed bronchiolitis (a lung infection) and we were back on the children's ward. After five days Chloe seemed to be improving. All she needed was another eye test and we could be discharged. Just before 11 am we were all ready to go and I had rung my husband and told him that we would meet him at home.
Five minutes after leaving the hospital I looked down at Chloe and noticed that her lips had gone blue and that she wasn't breathing. I picked her up out of her pushchair and pushed on her chest and shouted for help. We were rushed back to the children's ward but needed to be transferred to another hospital for specialist services. Chloe needed to be ventilated first - this took seven attempts before they got it right. We were then transferred by emergency ambulance to St Mary's in London where we stayed for two weeks in intensive care. Chloe returned home again on oxygen.
Eventually her PDA fixed itself and we began weaning her off the oxygen. By 8 March this year she was ready to be off 24 hours a day.
Unfortunately Chloe developed bronchiolitis again in April and spent yet another five days in hospital, back on the oxygen. She now only needs oxygen at night. Other than that she is a very happy, healthy 11 month old.
If you have been affacted by any of the issues in this post and need support, please ring our helpline on 0500 618 140 or visit our Netmums messageboard.