“I felt a real disconnect” - Monique’s story


Despite complications, mother of one, Monique, took all the turns of her pregnancy and birth in her stride.

My pregnancy was completely easy - no morning sickness, no cravings.

At my 28 week check, my midwife saw that my blood pressure was high and I was sent to triage. Due to my blood pressure spiking so much, the consultants decided that I should be induced at 35/36 weeks.

I thought I would need to stay in the hospital until induction, but thankfully I was discharged at 30 weeks. I felt fine about this though because my close friend is a Midwife Team Leader at the hospital I would be delivering at and she was going to keep an eye on me at home.

Plus, coming home made life easier for my sister who had to bring me food every day - I really don't like hospital food.

However, my blood pressure didn't get better so I was admitted back to hospital at 33 weeks pregnant. I was told I'd be induced but I requested that they wait until I reached 34 weeks, to give my baby the best chances possible, which they agreed to.

After the induction had started, I felt fine but at one point, my leg started shaking. When the staff were informed about my shaking leg, they said this was a sign of eclampsia, no longer 'pre-eclampsia' and that I'd need to deliver my baby by c-section, now!

The staff treated me very well - they were great.

After my baby girl Gianna was born at 34 weeks, weighing 3lbs 13oz, I only caught a glimpse of her before she was whisked away due to breathing problems.

On the NICU, she was put on oxygen and after just three hours, they were able to turn it off.

The whole process didn't feel real at all though. I couldn't see Gianna until the next morning because I was bed bound and my bed couldn't be wheeled to her. When I did eventually see her, it was only for about ten minutes. I felt a real disconnect, it was almost as if she wasn't there.

We were on NICU for two weeks because my daughter was so small. She was being tube fed and I was expressing milk. I would breastfeed in the morning, return home, then go back to the hospital later in the day, feed again and stay all night.

To get used to breastfeeding, I would put her on the breast whilst she was being fed from the tube, even though she wasn't able to draw much milk from the breast yet.

In September, two weeks after she was born, but still one month before she was due to be born, we came home. Gianna was doing really well.

But in December one night, she had a really high temperature and the following morning she started vomiting. Instead of consulting Google, I spoke to my mum as I usually do - she works at the GP surgery so I always run things by her and she told me to call the doctor. The GP suggested taking Gianna to the hospital. By this point, she was so weak, she couldn't even cry. Because she was born premature, I felt I had to be more careful and get her seen quickly.

I always felt calm though, I don't panic. I feel that if you panic, that's when things go crazy.

We went to children's A&E - the staff were amazing and made sure we saw a doctor quickly. Once we were moved up to the paediatric ward, we were given our own room which was good - I think they did this because Gianna was so tiny - about 8lbs at 12 weeks old.

Although she did start to recover from her winter illness shortly while being observed in hospital, the blood test did pick up that Gianna is anemic. Had it not been for the winter illness, we wouldn't have known this.

One thing that was odd though regarding our treatment: at 3am, after her observations were coming back as much better, they discharged us and expected us to leave the hospital! It was even suggested that we get a taxi home if I wasn't able to get someone to pick us up. Thankfully, my husband saw the call and came for us.

Since that episode in hospital, Gianna has been absolutely fine, except for a recent cough.

My husband and I are actually grateful that Gianna was born early. Before we left NICU, we were armed with fantastic information - we had to watch first aid videos on things like how to deal with choking and resuscitation and there was even a doll for us to practice on.

This is what every new parent should get the chance to watch and I believe parents should have to sign off that they've done it before they are discharged.

For other parents, I'd tell them to go out and seek advice from medical staff - they are there to help you. Even if they tell you all is fine, you’ll get peace of mind, so there is nothing lost.