Blog post by Angela Lund
Life changed overnight when my waters broke on the way home from work; on London Underground’s Northern line no less! At only 24 weeks pregnant I was terrified as I made my way to hospital with my husband, Phil. Tests revealed I had an infection which resulted in Preterm Premature Rupture of Membranes, where the membraned sac holding the baby and the amniotic fluid breaks open before you’re actually in labor.
I was given antibiotics in the hope of stemming the infection, but 48 hours later it showed no sign of abating, putting both my health & the baby’s at risk. We were told I would have to go into labour. It was an incredibly anxious & upsetting time, feeling our lives had suddenly spiraled out of control. We were told that the baby would have a 50 per cent chance of survival and if it did survive could face a lifetime of challenges. It was all too much to take in and felt so unfair.
Our son Jack was born on 10 May 2013 weighing a mere 650g (1lb 70z). He was immediately placed in a sandwich bag to conserve heat and was rushed past us in his incubator. It was very far from the image you have of cradling your newborn for the first time. We got to see him that evening and he was so small he didn’t even look like a baby. Peering into the incubator for the first time was one of the most difficult and upsetting things I have ever done.
That was the beginning of our neonatal journey. Jack endured four months in three different hospitals, several weeks on a ventilator, a PDA ligation, numerous blood transfusions and a brain haemorrhage. After the first two months we thought we were heading into calmer waters when he nearly died of sepsis. Such is the roller coaster of life in neonatal care, one minute you’re up and the next you’re down. Jack surprised us all by coming home a week after his due date on 4 September; we weren’t even ready!
The first few months were extremely tough. He came home on oxygen, had two hospital admissions, a nasogastric intubation tube fitted for a while to help him feed and severe reflux which meant feeding and sleeping were virtually impossible for him. Now 15 months on, we can hardly believe how well Jack is doing. He’s off the oxygen, eats anything he can lay his hands on, babbles, sits and is learning to stand. A year ago we would not have thought it possible that we would be blessed with such a happy and healthy little boy.
That’s why we’re running and riding for Jack. Phil is cycling 100 miles in the Prudential Ride 100 and I’ll be joining the Bliss team at the Royal Parks Half Marathon on 12 October. We hope to raise money and awareness for Bliss so they can help others like us when things don’t quite go to plan.