"Accept the support and help from friends and family" - Chelsey’s story

Chelsey 1

Chelsey's son Charlie was born via c-section, and from there was admitted to NICU. In her story, Chelsey shares how she was also battling an infection and pre-eclampsia.

During my pregnancy, I had pre-diabetes and gestational diabetes so I was scheduled to have a c-section due to how big my baby was going to be.

On the 27 April 2023, myself and partner walked into a surgical room full of many different people - all with different roles.

I had the epidural soon after and was told to lie down immediately and within minutes I couldn’t move my legs, arms or body - it affected me too much I couldn’t tell when I was breathing.

I told my partner I loved him 100 times just to feel okay and safe but I was terrified as I could watch the whole thing happen in the reflection on the ceiling. They were making incisions to get Charlie out and he whispered that they could see his head. And then we heard you cry. I lost a little bit too much blood and Charlie had meconium aspiration at birth.

We were all taken to the ward and we had you for 18 hours. In those 18 hours I realised that Charlie wasn’t okay his chest flailing, floppy, sleepy and he would cry for two seconds quietly then stop.

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We kept thinking what a good baby we had, as there were screaming babies all around. I raised it three times that his breathing wasn’t normal and after the third time, he was then taken to NICU, where they discovered he had an infection and respiratory distress syndrome.

We were taken to a side room to protect us from babies but I’d go to fill up my water and see mothers and fathers with their babies and feel jealous. I’d go back into the hospital room and break down.

Anytime I mentioned Charlie to hospital staff I’d just cry as I wasn’t with him but when I was I’d still be crying as he’s just a baby and doctors kept saying: “He’s going to get worse before he gets better.” But luckily, that didn’t happen and he got much better each day.

However, he had many tests, cannulas, ECG’s, and blood tests when he was only days old. It took three people to restrain this strong baby as he didn’t want a cannula put in. Watching your baby scream and go red in the face whilst staff are trying to do that was a different type of heartbreak.

I had to ring a buzzer multiple times a day to see my baby, and say I was his mum. I continued to visit my baby and breastfeed despite the headaches, chest pain and other symptoms. Those rooms can be lonely - my baby was covered in wires and I was too scared to touch him.

I tried to breastfeed but my body was suffering from an infection and pre-eclampsia, so I was re-admitted on his due date - 4 May 2023.

There were many tears - I wanted to be better for you and for me because I couldn’t care for either of us. Your dad was an angel and stood by me whilst I cried, probably once an hour.

The support from both our families and the neonatal nurses was amazing. My advice to other parents is to accept the support and help from family and friends, whether that’s bringing food in or clean clothes because living off hospital food was expensive for us.

Although my experience wasn’t the best I do know I am lucky to still be alive and have my baby. I’ve had friends experience loss before and my heart breaks for them, I wish for them to get the baby they so want! No matter what week of pregnancy you were or post-natal it still matters, and it’s still trauma.

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