“It feels lonely going through a bad birth” - Megan’s Full-Term Story

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Megan tells us her experience about having a full-term baby born at 39 weeks, who suffered from severe meconium aspiration and needed to be placed on a ventilator.

Our daughter Phoebe was born on 22 June 2021. I was 39 weeks pregnant and was going in for an elective caesarean as she was measuring on the larger side. Our son was previously born at 33 weeks via an emergency caesarean, as I was suffering from pre-eclampsia which was rapidly advancing.

Because of our previous experience, I was very anxious during the pregnancy. I kept asking my midwife – “when she is born, will you give her to me?” and “you won't take her away will you?” They reassured me, saying this is going to be a totally different experience for you – calm and relaxing. I still struggled with sleepless nights as I didn't understand what would happen when she was born. I never believed that she'd be given to us and that I’d get to experience that immediate bonding between us.

We went into the operating room, and were excited knowing our daughter would be with us soon. She arrived at 9:36 am but there was only one stifled cry and then nothing. We were assured everything was okay and she only needed a bit of help.

She had suffered from severe meconium aspiration and needed to be placed on a ventilator - by 9:50 am she was on the ventilator and that was doing all the work for her. We went into a side room to recover and told her weight was 10lbs 13ozs - she was three times the size of our son.

Later that day we went down to the neonatal unit to see her - Phoebe was on 100% oxygen and still wasn't improving so she needed more help. Therefore she was transported to another hospital. We were welcomed by the same people who looked after our son although this time they all had masks on, but we'd recognise those women anywhere.

I spent five days in another county to my son and husband, as I wanted to be with her. It was difficult to be there by myself, on a recovery ward watching mums leave with their babies whilst mine was covered in tubes and wires.

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It felt very strange as well because Phoebe was a big girl and she filled the cot - we even had to bring in nappies for her as she was too big for the nappies they had. I was constantly pumping to keep up with demand when they started tube feeding, started the morning on 2ml on day three and ended on 18ml, by the time we left the hospital it was estimated to be 120ml+.

Her cry was a lot louder than any other baby’s - if she wasn't happy, everyone knew about it. It just felt odd having this large baby amongst all the little ones, it just felt we shouldn't be there, and it feels like we were robbed of a nice experience of birth.

After spending what felt like a lifetime in hospital - it was only ten days, but the days seem never-ending, clinging on for any piece of hope - we were discharged, and we began our journey as a family of four.

Unfortunately I would say I still suffer from the experience. It feels lonely going through bad births as you don't want to scare people. Many of my friends haven't had children, and quite simply, people don't understand unless you have been through it.