“I know time will heal me” - Charlotte’s story

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Charlotte shares her experience of being a midwife and having a premature baby. She spent 105 days in the NICU with her son Teddy, who was born at 23 weeks and five days.

As a midwife, when I found out I was pregnant back in 2016 I thought of every worst-case scenario possible. I went on to have a difficult birth but my daughter Rose was fine and a healthy nine pounds eleven. I felt quite traumatised from the birth and it took some time to consider having another baby.

Very luckily on 16th April we found out we were expecting and we found out it was a boy. We were over the moon. However at 23+5 days, I was on a night shift, and whilst looking after a patient, my waters went. I was in such a state of shock I didn’t actually believe it was happening to me.

I was quickly rushed to the high dependency unit where I was assessed and found to have an open cervix. I started steroids and medication for his brain development and put him into a bed tilt to see if we could buy some time. My friends and colleagues say with me and cared me for above and beyond and thankfully bought us 13 days. After a long labour, our son Theodore Edward Dobbs was born breached in his membranes as he fought his way out, we heard the tiniest cry, something as a midwife I had not seen myself at 25 weeks.

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The journey had already been hard but it was just the beginning. Teddy was so lucky to have not sustained any HIE and spent 103 days in the NICU, there were lots and lots of ups and downs. The down days are horrific and it’s only when I allow myself to look back on our journey I realise just how horrendous it was.

However, the good days are magical and the staff try so very hard to make every first special. Although the time my son spent there was filled with company, whether that was staff, or friends made who are lifelong - I never felt so alone in my life. I constantly felt torn between my two kids, and I constantly told everyone I was fine when deep down I was suffering and still am suffering underneath a smile. I know time will heal me.

We are now home with a chunky twelve-pound healthy boy, he is still on some oxygen but my husband and I feel so unbelievably lucky - we can’t wait to see what Teddy will do with his future. I have delivered miracles and seen so many premature and term babies go to NICU, but being a mum and experiencing it first-hand, I had no idea what these families go through and hope in the future when I’m back to being a midwife I can’t support these families going forward.

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