Blog post by Lauren Dickson
My pregnancy had a few ups and downs with little bleeds and cramps now and then, but overall I enjoyed it up until the night of May 17 2013. My waters broke whilst I was relaxing in bed. At first I didn’t realise it was my waters as I knew at 29 weeks gestation this shouldn’t be happening but then a huge sense of panic hit me and my partner rushed me to the hospital.
Once there the kind team explained what was happening and that I wasn’t in labour, however they wanted to bring on labour at 36 weeks gestation. I had to stay in hospital having the baby’s heart rate checked regularly, scans and other tests, but it was bearable. A week later on May 25 2013 at 8:11pm my son Shiloh was born at 30 weeks gestation, weighing 2lbs 15oz. Even though the medical team had explained the delivery process and what the next steps were I still thought for some reason I would be able to hold him and take him home. As soon as I gave birth Shiloh had a huge team of medical experts surrounding him and that was it, he was gone from my sight. It was so surreal and I had no emotions whatsoever.
Shiloh went from a few hours stay in intensive care to four weeks in high dependency in an incubator where he self-ventilated in air, growing bigger and stronger each day. I remember expressing tiny, tiny amounts of colostrum into a syringe to feed him down his tube, thinking I’m never going to get a good supply to feed him properly, but then before I knew it I could have fed the whole hospital with my supply and my baby was getting bigger and stronger.
He had a setback for a week as he was given a powder added to his EBM that was supposed to help him gain weight quickly, which instead swelled his stomach so he dropped back a week and his feeds had to be reduced to smaller amounts. I thought this was never going to end. Once he was over that though, he came out of the incubator regulating his temperature on his own so he didn’t need a cot warmer. I was so happy and proud about it, and that’s when I knew my baby boy was a little miracle. We would visit him at least four to five times a day, hardly eating as we were busy traveling to and from hospital, doing Shiloh’s cares and going back home to sleep, and then waking up early the next day to go back to the neonatal unit.
Four weeks later I was given more good news when Shiloh and I stayed together for three weeks on the transitional care unit (TCU). In the TCU I exclusively breast fed and tube fed him, bathed, dressed, played and slept with him like a mother should do. The week after I was convinced I was going home but he was not gaining the right amount of weight, so I decided to bottle feed EBM so I knew for myself the amount he was drinking and it made me less stressed. May 2013 was rather hot so being stuck in the hospital room with my little bundle of joy was getting me down so my partner made up a picnic and we sat in the car park under a tree where we ate and watched the world go by with our baby in his pram. He looked so so tiny.
A week later we were told we were going home, although at that point it felt to me like home was the hospital! We got home and we began life as a family of three. Shiloh came home three weeks before his due date and he still has check ups every 6 months with his lovely neo natal consultant who is very happy with his progress. Onwards and upwards for my little man who had an early start to life but now he is huge (to me) has two teeth and will not stop talking. Thanks to Bradford Royal Infirmary for the amazing work they do.