When I found out I was pregnant my partner Danny and I were so happy. Scared, but happy. Worryingly, when I was eight weeks pregnant, I found blood when I went to the toilet. I took it easy that night and rang the doctors the next morning, I explained what had happened and was booked in for a scan. We expected the worst but luckily the scan showed my baby was doing great. They weren’t sure what had happened, so I was sent home and told to rest up.
Everything was fine until two months later when, on Christmas Eve, I woke suddenly at 4.30am. I was covered in blood again, but this time my chest hurt as well. Once again I got to the hospital and they told me the baby was fine - they sent me home again, on bed rest this time. I gave my job up as it required me to be on my feet all day, and rested as much as I could, I didn't do anything but sleep and eat.
At 20 weeks we found out we were having a girl and everything was going well until 24 weeks. I was on my way to collect a takeaway in the evening and I felt wet - I thought it was another bleed but it was a clear liquid this time, not blood. I called my mum and she told me my waters had broken. When we got to the hospital they confirmed this but said they couldn’t stop my labour, so we were now playing a waiting game. I stayed in hospital for four days and was then sent home again, although I had to return to hospital three times a week for a check-up.
Then after a night of tossing and turning I noticed that my waters were no longer clear but yellow. I went to the hospital but they told me I had nothing to worry about. I was sent home but I knew something wasn’t right so I went back again. They said they would keep a close eye on me so I was sent up to the ward to wait. Soon after I was checked by a doctor after I had pain round my stomach and my bump was hurting. I was sent to the labour ward over night but woke at 2.00am with a bad pain in my stomach.
I was given pain relief and tried to sleep through it but at 6.00am I was crying with the pain, I was given more pain relief and was allowed gas and air. I was told that I was starting to dilate - it was so painful and I was terrified, I just wanted it all to stop and to see if my baby was ok. I was told I would be taken to theatre for a caesarean section at 8.00pm, but it got to 9.00pm and I was still waiting. The baby’s heartbeat was very high and I was rushed to theatre. But it was too late, I was 10cm dilated and would have to give birth naturally. I was taken back to the room and told that she was in the wrong position. I pushed with everything I had left, and at 9.17 pm Layla Kathryn Alice Greenwood arrived weighing just 2lbs.
I didn't see her as she was rushed to the neonatal unit. When Layla was born her cord snapped so I had to be cut, and wasn’t able to go and see her straight away. It got to 12.30am and neither Danny nor I had met our daughter. I could barely move after the birth so I asked doctors if Danny and my mum could go and see her. They came back with pictures for me, which made me so happy.
Layla had such a rough time in hospital, she had endless blood transfusions and it took her a long time to come off oxygen. She suffered from several colds and it took her a few days to get ready for my milk. It was awful, I was powerless and couldn't do anything to help her. I spent so many nights praying for her to be ok.
Even the last month was hard, Layla was putting on weight until they noticed her organs had slowed and she wasn't moving the water weight. She was so poorly and Danny and I thought we would never get her home. She gradually got better and was allowed to drink from a bottle. Eventually they told us that they were planning for Layla to go home they just needed to reduce her oxygen requirements. They ordered her home oxygen, and when it came I told everyone that we were ready to go home.
After 12 weeks and four days on the unit we were ready to spend the night with Layla in a specially designed bedroom in the hospital. Our first night was scary, for the first time there were no monitors for us to check. We had no problems, and after her eye test in the morning we were ready to go. We took Layla out of the hospital doors to the fresh air for the first time, and set off home.
We’ve had a few problems since we came home. She didn’t do very well with her first oxygen turn down, but after that she sailed through them. On 17 September, we put her to bed for the first time with no oxygen and two days later we took it off completely. Two weeks before Christmas she got very poorly and was admitted back to hospital, but since then she has done fantastically.
She is now a happy, active and 15 month old and we are so lucky to have her.
If you have been affected by any of the issues discussed in this blog post and need support, please call our helpline on 0500 618 140 to speak to one of our advisors or visit the support section of our website.