“It was the scariest moment of my life” - Bethany’s story

Bethany 1

Bethany had her baby boy at 26 weeks. She shares her advice for other parents with a premature baby on the NICU: to write down all of your questions and don't be afraid to ask the doctors and nurses.

I was 26 weeks and three days pregnant when I gave birth to my baby in April 2022. I found out at an early gender scan I was having my fourth boy and myself and my partner were excited to meet our first child together.

My pregnancy was normal other than having gestational diabetes.

I started suffering with back pains and had a sickness bug for a few days before I gave birth. I thought that I must have strained my back but whilst at home I was still getting the pain which was also in my stomach.

At first I wasn't concerned as they just felt like menstrual cramps so I decided to have a bath to ease the pains at around 1am. When in the bath I felt something coming out and when I looked down, the bath water was turning pink from blood.

After calling my partner into the bathroom, he called the hospital who said to come in and get checked over.

My eldest son was asleep in bed so we had to wake him up so they could drop me off to the hospital.

My partner dropped me off and left to take my son to his grandparents so I was alone whilst I waited to be seen. I was sat in the waiting room of the labour ward for around ten minutes when the pains were getting worse and I was bleeding so heavily that it had soaked through a pad.

I called a midwife to ask for another pad as I didn't have any with me, and asked if I should show her how much blood I was losing. When I did, they rushed me through to a room.

A midwife came to monitor my baby’s heart rate but was struggling to find it as she couldn't distinguish between his and mine - my baby’s heart rate was really slow. At this point I was still waiting for my partner to arrive and I thought I would have to explain to him that they couldn't find a heartbeat, so I felt so relieved when they did.


The hospital was really busy so I had to wait around ten minutes for a doctor to come and scan me and that time felt like forever. When I was scanned the doctor told me I was suffering from a placental abruption, I was bleeding heavily and the baby’s heart rate was very slow.

I was then given two options which both terrified me: I could be treated for my bleeding but my baby would pass away, or I could be rushed for an emergency c-section with still a big chance he would not make it. I didn't have to think about it, I wanted to give my baby a chance so I opted for the caesarean.

My partner couldn't come in and I had to be put to sleep. This was probably the scariest moment of my life.

When my son was delivered the doctors had to work on him for 17 minutes before getting a heartbeat. He was then rushed to the NICU and I got to see him later that day.

The doctors warned us he might not make it as he was very sick. They also said that if he did make it, there was a high chance he would be severely disabled.

He spent over 100 days in hospital before coming home on oxygen which he still requires now but has no signs of any disabilities.

The advice I would give to other parents with a premature baby on the NICU is to write down all of your questions and don't be afraid to ask the doctors and nurses.

It can seem like there is no end in sight but suddenly they come on in leaps and bounds.

Take each day as it comes and don't push yourselves too hard, it's important to take care of yourselves because we need to be strong for when our babies come home.