My Daughter’s time at the RVI was short compared to most, but still the most horrendous time of my life.
Ruby was born at Durham via a planned section at full term, weighing 10lb 2oz . She decided to stop breathing in theatre, Durham did all they could but ultimately she needed specialist treatment. Tom and another member of staff came for Ruby. I was wheeled along to talk to him, he made me laugh and considering the circumstances I don’t know how, saying she was being lazy and couldn’t be bothered to breathe for herself. I instantly felt comforted by Tom and knew she was in safe hands.
Off they went, I went back to my room and cried, cried and cried. Eventually Durham took me over at Midnight as I couldn’t rest and the RVI sorted a room for me. The second I got there I went straight to Red Zone and sat and cried! I had no idea what was going on. One of the night staff brought me a cup of tea and sat with me trying to help me understand. I sat all night long just looking at my baby girl who filled the cot completely compared to the others in the room. Realisation hit, no matter how far along your never guaranteed to walk home with your baby.
I counted the hours until the doctors round in the morning, refusing to leave my chair, just stroking Ruby’s hand. The round came, the doctors were amazing. Nothing was promised as it was still early days but a plan was put in place and all of what Ruby had been through was explained, machines explained everything I asked over and over, they took their time and genuinely cared. They even cared for my son who would come and visit us, explaining what they could in the best possible way for a 4 year old to understand.
The next few days were touch and go but eventually it was decided to wean Ruby off all of her machines and see if she could manage. Again I sat crying and every single nurse comforted me bringing me tea, coffee and food. Continually bring me the Breast pump and screens. They would chase me to shower and rest, reassuring me that they would ring if anything was to happen. I always asked that I could do Ruby’s cares and it was no problem to them at all. They would hold the wires and bring me anything I needed. Every doctors round I was there in my chair and they still had all the time for me that I needed, going over every little detail and number on machines.
Over the next few days Ruby would wake a little more often, become a little stronger in herself and take a few more of her own breaths so the machines weren’t doing it all. Slowly coming off her sedation she would wave her arms and kick. Day 5 came and Ruby was no longer on any sedation, we had discussed with her being big she may just pull her breathing tube out herself. So I sat worried about what the outcome would be, of course she whipped it out herself. The nurses monitored her intensely for the next 24 hours writing the numbers making sure she oxygen levels were correct and making sure she was comfortable. I couldn’t believe she was doing it by herself, the doctors round came and they laughed at the fact she had done exactly as they predicted. I had never felt so happy in my life. My girl was breathing herself and even feeding off me! These new tears were happiness tears.
She soon got moved to Green for a day. Again, I sat always with her, popping to shower and eat when she was asleep and asking to be rang if she woke, which they always did. I wrote her name on the board, my son’s name and mammy and daddy’s name. I spoke to a few of the mothers in there, the months they had spend going backwards and forwards not being able to take their baby home. Watching them write in their journals of the day they were spending again in hospital waiting for their release day. Watching the bond they had with the nurses and seeing how much trust they had in them. Again, although I had a bad time, I felt so lucky that I was in this room after just 6 days.
Day 7 and she was flying … off down the nursery we went. She was breathing great, feeding great and she was eventually like the baby I thought I would take home from Durham. The nursery staff again were amazing, Nothing was ever a problem.
Day 8. The day came, ‘You can take Ruby to your room!’ If I didn’t have my stomach stitched I would have jumped around the room with joy! They discharged Ruby and I had my daughter with me in my room. I sat that night staring at her thinking how lucky I was. Because although my daughter was fine, I had been around so many other Mams who had spent months in the Unit, realising they had to go home and leave their baby. They had no choice, my heart sank. They put their trust into these nurses to care for their baby when they couldn’t be there.
Truthfully, I sat in Red for 5 days solid, Green for one and the nursery for one and those nurses cared for each of the babies in their rooms like their own: talking to them, singing to them comforting them, changing them, making sure they were happy and that is truly amazing. They are the most wonderful people in my eyes and I for one have the up most respect for every doctor and nurse there. They saved my daughter and I owe them my life.
I took Ruby home after one day in my room, she’s doing amazingly. Hitting all of her milestones and is a real character. Ruby does have tibial sicosis and epilepsy which are controlled by medication but that doesn’t stop us, if anything makes us stronger.
Tiny Lives you are amazing. Thank you so much