Annie Bloomfield’s Story
Annie Bloomfield born 24+5 weeks. 1lb 8oz.
Annie’s early months in the womb had hinted that this might not be an easy pregnancy, but nothing came as more of a shock than my waters breaking at 24+5 weeks. I was given a course of steroid injections to help Annie’s lungs should she not be able to stay in the womb. She did good and stayed put for 3 days only to arrive spontaneously with a dramatic bed race to the delivery suite where the SCBU team were ready and waiting for her.
They told me she had gasped for air which was good and that she was a girl. They wrapped her in a special something, put her on oxygen and let me touch her briefly before taking her to the red zone of the SCBU. Her dad, David, missed the drama and had to wait to see her on the SCBU.
I had never seen anything so frightening and, admittedly, strange as this tiny mite weighing only 1lb 8oz. having had one full term baby already, Holly at 8lb 11oz! The midwife who delivered her was very kind and told me that girls tend to do well but to take every day as it comes. We were lucky, as we already knew there was a spare incubator there at the RVI. The next night was New Year’s Eve and I went to sit with and see the New Year in with tiny Annie. We held Annie for the first time when she was seven days old covered in tubes. It was wonderful. Everything from then on, for the next three and a half months, is a hazy memory for us all.
Annie did very well, helped most likely by the steroid injections they had given me prior to her birth. She spent relatively little time ventilated and very soon managed on CPAP. The staff on the unit were great and took time to explain properly and privately about any issues affecting Annie. We wanted statistics but each and every baby is different. One good piece of advice we were given was to just try and enjoy any time spent with her.
Whilst in the SCBU she had medicine to close a duct next to her heart, which was successful, several blood transfusions and laser eye surgery to correct Retinopathy of Prematurity.
We would spend many hours sitting by Annie’s incubator, just looking and waiting. David was especially good at reading her stories, just to let her know we were there.
Gradually Annie was weaned down off CPAP onto low flow oxygen having had one set-back onto a ventilator after her eye surgery.
The end of the roller coaster journey arrived when Annie was finally discharged home one terrifying but beautiful day in April. It was the perfect time of year to leave as it gave her the whole summer to get strong. So fourteen weeks and two days on SCBU and exactly one week before her due date, her big sister, three year old Holly, practically single-handedly rolled the cot out of the SCBU as she was so eager to get her home.
Alongside our little girl coming home the other thing that I am eternally grateful for is that my dad saw and spent some time with Annie, as he sadly died that summer.
Annie stayed on oxygen throughout the summer finally being weaned off in September. We had a small set back in the November with a spell in hospital simply due to a virus. After that she came on in leaps and bounds and now at a corrected age of one year is cruising the furniture and getting up to all sorts of mischief. We will be always so grateful to the amazing staff at the RVI for their care and knowledge.