My name is Nicola and my partner is Daran. I had a fairly normal pregnancy, apart from extreme morning sickness everything seemed to be going quite well. On 19th Oct 2007 my waters broke at 4.00am. To be honest, I thought the baby was lying on my bladder and had made me wee, but after jumping in the shower I realised that my bump had deflated and Daran had already rung the hospital who told us to go straight in.
Even when we arrived at the hospital I thought we would be told that all was OK and I would be going back to work, as I was only 26 weeks and 5 days pregnant. The baby was measured and checked and I was kept in for 2 days and told that I wouldn’t be going back to work and the baby was likely to come sooner rather than later. I think I was still in denial because I was only 6 months pregnant and thought this couldn’t really be happening.
I got home, had a bath and then started feeling uncomfortable, like I needed the loo. My mum and Daran grabbed a bag and off we went to the hospital. By the time we got there I knew I was in labour but thought that they would give me something to stop it. I was lucky that they had managed to get 2 steroid injections into me while in hospital to help the baby’s lungs and was told by the nurses when we arrived that I was going to the delivery suite. I still thought I wasn’t having this baby yet.
I was monitored and given diamorphine and then quite suddenly a lot of doctors appeared in the room and told me the heart was dipping so they needed to get the baby out.
After 5 mins of pushing our beautiful baby girl was born at 27 weeks and 1 day and weighed 2lb 4 1/2 ozs. She was held up quickly in front of us and then was checked by the doctors. Georgia breathed initially but then had a blockage and the doctors were working hard to get her breathing again and after 4 mins they cleared the blockage and she was taken and put on a ventilator. We were so happy but also terrified and desperate to know if she was going to make it.
The midwife and the doctors who delivered Georgia were fantastic and looked after us really well. Georgia was put in an incubator in the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) and I stayed on a ward for the first week.
Georgia came off the ventilator after the first day and I was in a daze. I just used to go and sit and look at this tiny baby through the incubator willing her to be OK. The staff in SCBU were amazing and really gentle. They showed us how to help Georgia and do her cares, change her nappy, clean her face and how to handle her.
Georgia was doing well, but wasn’t gaining weight as quickly as they would have liked and had a huge swollen tummy. she was given x-rays and they showed nothing sinister so we just carried on watching her grow. After 4 weeks we were moved from the Red Area to the Blue. She still had a huge tummy and had to have two courses of antibiotics for infections but she was doing fairly well. She also had to have two blood transfusions, and had to have quite a lot of blood taken for tests etc.
After 2 weeks in the Blue Area, we were thrilled to be told that we were ready for the Green. Georgia still wasn’t gaining masses of weight but she was strong and breathing well with CPAP. She’d only needed oxygen occasionally and was breathing alone for longer and longer periods. They had discovered that she had an ectopic heart beat which was monitored but the heart specialist said it was nothing to be too worried about.
Just before Christmas, after 8 weeks in hospital, we were allowed home as we were eligible for the home tube feeding programme but once home Georgia wouldn’t sleep and was vomiting all night and seemed to have cramps. We were admitted into Ward 6 in early January where we stayed for another 8 weeks while they carried out tests. Consultants and some of the nurses from SCBU came to see us and continued to look after us.
It was found that Georgia’s pancreas wasn’t working as it should be and her white blood count was always down and her kidneys were leaking. She was diagnosed with Swachman Diamond Syndrome (SDS), a life threatening condition. We were distraught and the doctors and nurses spent hours comforting us as we tried to come to terms with it.
Georgia was given medication and one of the doctors decided to try her on a dairy free milk instead of breast milk and overnight she changed. She started sleeping and her tummy went back to normal and we were allowed to go home. Two months later we were given the amazing news that Georgia was OK. We had been waiting for the results of the genetic test to confirm SDS but it had come back negative. Georgia had simply outgrown her symptoms and they retested her and everything was working OK.
Georgia is now almost one and she is a joy. She has an allergy to milk that she will grow out of but apart from that she is a beautiful healthy baby who is developing well. We will never be able to thank the staff at the RVI enough for the love and care they showed to us as well as our daughter, they helped us through a truly awful time.
I hope any other parents who are reading this and remember we are now doing OK and enjoy their special babies too.
Lots of love
Nicola, Daran & Georgia