11 articles Articles posted in Maternity Matters

Maternity Matters Week 4 #maternitymatters

I can’t quite believe this is the fourth Maternity Matters linky already! We really hope you’re enjoying the process of sharing and reading so many great posts as much as we are. Seeing how pregnancy and birth experiences vary so much from person to person is as beautiful as it is informative and that uniqueness is exactly what’s at the core of Maternity Matters.

As usual, we’d love it if you displayed our badge, either on your individual posts or in your sidebar, and we’d also be grateful for anyone who isn’t already to follow the Maternity Matters Facebook and Twitter accounts.



MaternityMatters~ Mum's the Word

Maternity Matters Linky Week 3 – #MaternityMatters

One thing that Susanne and I set out to do when we started Maternity Matters was give parents a voice, regardless of how difficult the subject they’re talking about might seem, which is why in the past few years, Maternity Matters has covered topics such as birth trauma, SIDS, Post Natal Depression and PND. Pregnancy and labour can be incredibly beautiful experiences, but they can also be difficult and potentially traumatic, and we felt strongly that by collecting stories from a variety of experiences we might be able to help people who needed information, or those who simply needed to feel that they weren’t alone.

If we’ve managed to help or educate even ONE person since we started, then I think I speak for us both when I say that we feel we’ve accomplished something worthwhile. Writing about our experiences has been hugely cathartic for both myself and Susanne and encouraging others in the same way is a huge part of the Maternity Matters ethos.

So, in that vein, here’s the form for the third #MaternityMatters linky – we’d love you to link up any posts, old or new, positive or difficult, anything pregnancy, maternity, baby or health related that you’d like to share. As ever, we’d love you to comment on as many of the shared posts as possible and don’t forget to grab our badge!



MaternityMatters~ Mum's the Word

#MaternityMatters – Week Two

It’s a fortnight since Susanne and I launched the Maternity Matters linky and we had some absolutely amazing posts linked up in that time. Reading about everyone’s experiences reminds us exactly why we started Maternity Matters in the first place and we hope that the linky will continue to be as popular in the coming weeks.

This week, I’ve linked the post that I wrote about my second c-section and how it was a healing experience, compared to the chaos and heartache of Sausage’s emergency c-section birth. I was terribly nervous all through my pregnancy at the thought of being awake through what amounts to some pretty major abdominal surgery and I even watched videos on YouTube of other people’s elective cesareans so I’d have an idea of what I could expect (control freak? Me?!). If you’ve got a fairly strong stomach, I’d actually recommend watching a few videos if you’re unsure of what to expect from a c-section as seeing it in action completely demystified the whole process for me and gave me a much better understanding of what would happen on the day.

Anyway, without further ado, here’s where you can link your posts this week, and don’t forget to grab our lovely badge to stick at the bottom of your posts so that your readers know where to find lots more great maternity-related writing.



MaternityMatters~ Mum's the Word

Maternity Matters Linky – Week One

So, here it is, the first ever #MaternityMatters link up and I couldn’t be more excited about it! Susanne and I cannot wait to read all of your posts and shared articles, as well as helping and supporting other parents along the way. We’d love you to go along and comment on as many other posts as you can, but remember that this is a place of love and kindness and try to let that show in your comments.

When you link up, please feel free to grab our badge and when you share your post, tag @jaynecrammond and @ghostwritermumm so that we can share your post far and wide.

The #MaternityMatters linky will run fortnightly and you are welcome to link up both new and old posts, and as many as you like. Each week we will pin all the posts onto relevant boards. Please also feel free to grab our lovely new badge and stick in on your posts so that anyone reading them can come along and find all of the others.

MaternityMatters~ Mum's the Word



The Return of Maternity Matters

When I started blogging in the Autumn of 2010, a large part of my need to get my thoughts out of my head was because of the birth trauma I’d suffered whilst having Sausage in August 2008. Skip forward two years and I’d joined forces with Susanne from Ghostwriter Mummy, someone I’d only ever communicated with online, but who understood me better than some people I’d known my whole life because she’d been through a traumatic birth of her own.

You don’t want to believe that trauma, depression and PTSD will be something that defines you for the rest of your life but, in my experience, it’s something that does stay with you forever – you just learn how to carry it more comfortably, over time, like a heavy bag with a rubbish handle.  And it’s out of this shared experience that Susanne and I started Maternity Matters, a place for us and anyone else to tell their stories, find some support and to join together in improving knowledge and care for families who’ve suffered a trauma.

Over the past three years we’ve shared some incredible accounts of women of all ages and all walks of life, as well as collating news regarding maternity care in the UK, although life and babies (two more for Susanne and one more for me, bringing our collective total to six!) meant that the site has gone unloved for a while…until NOW! We’re hoping to bring Maternity Matters back to life and get it back on track. Susanne and I have a lot of new experiences to write about and we’re hoping that we’ll have lots of contributions from fellow bloggers and parents who want to share their stories.

In the meantime, Susanne and I will be launching the #MaternityMatters linky, starting tomorrow, for you to link up any article, blog post or story relating to:

fertility

conception

pregnancy and pregnancy related conditions/ complications

childbirth – of all kinds

breast/bottle feeding

postnatal experiences

parenting a baby

pregnancy/baby loss

The linky will go live every other Friday and we’d love to get as many of you as possible linking up with ANYTHING maternity-related. Also, if you’d like to contribute to Maternity Matters, please email jayne@maternitymatters.net with your ideas.

MaternityMatters

A Healing Birth

IMG_20140226_082159If you’ve read Sausage’s birth story before, you’ll know that it didn’t go at all to plan. The whole thing was a disaster, right up until the surgeon pulled her from my body in under a minute, saving her life and getting her into the world safely. It’s taken five years to consider the prospect of doing it all again, but as you’ll know if you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, my second daughter was delivered just over three weeks ago.

I had to be in hospital for two and a half days before I gave birth as I was only 36+6 weeks gone and had to have steroid injections to ensure that the baby’s lungs were properly developed. However, steroids can play havoc with blood sugar and being diabetic already meant that I needed to be closely monitored to ensure that I didn’t go too low or too high, as well as being on a constant insulin drip. I had to take my blood sugar, via finger prick test, every hour for the entire duration of my hospital stay, which sucked. The first night I was there, I managed a total of 45 minutes sleep, and the second night about 2 hours sleep.

By Monday morning, I was SO ready for my c-section to happen, despite being nervous about the whole thing, and luckily I didn’t have long to wait. Husband arrived before 9am and soon, the scrub nurse was ushering him off to get into scrubs and wellies (yes, seriously, wellies! Although, I must say, he looked rather tasty in scrubs!).

Walking into the operating theatre felt odd – last time, I’d been shoved through on a gurney and put to sleep in the space of a few seconds. Now, I was chatting and laughing with the theatre staff and being put at ease by Husband. The spinal was the part I was dreading the most, but I had two anaesthetists in the room, both of whom were very reassuring and kind, and not only was it over in no time, but it was SO much less painful than I expected it to be. Don’t get me wrong, feeling someone sticking a needle into my spine was slightly odd, but it was totally manageable.

Once they were sure that the spinal had worked, the screen was put up and the operation began. I could feel lots of pulling and moving around, but no pain – all of it was very odd! At one point, Husband stood and looked over the top of the screen, just in time to see the baby being pulled out of my tummy! She’d been very low down and had wedged herself in with one arm above her head, so the surgeon had to use one side of a set of forceps like a spoon to help him to scoop her out.

Between the moment she was pulled out of my body and the first time I heard her cry, it felt like all of the air had been sucked out of the room. The trauma of Sausage’s birth hung over me like the blade of an axe, but hearing her let out a cry made the horrible memories evaporate. I’ll admit, I cried right along with my newborn daughter, tears of relief and love pouring out of me. I felt overwhelmed with gratitude to both the team who’d done my c-section, and the surgeon who’d managed to deliver Sausage all those years ago.

It had all gone to plan and my newborn daughter had been delivered safely.

After the baby was out, the surgeon took a long time sewing me back up and it really shows – my scar is almost invisible! One of the weirdest experiences I’ve ever had was as the team were prepping me to take me to recovery; out of the corner of my eye, I saw one of the nurses move something across the bed – it was only when I looked down that I realised the ‘something’ she’d moved had been my right leg, but I had no sensation in it at all!

Despite three miserable days spent hooked up to a drip, despite my tiredness, my bruised coccyx from sitting in a bed the whole time, despite being away from Sausage and Husband and despite all of my fears, I felt utterly blissful in the hours after the birth. It was such a different experience from my first c-section and I really felt like it had gone a long way to repairing some of the damage done to my heart and mind. Being conscious and hearing my baby’s first cry was something I’ll never forget.

 We were home within a day and a half and family life has steadily been getting back to some semblance of normality. We’ve discovered that the baby loves to be swaddled, wrapped like a burrito, leading to the name she’ll be known as here on the blog…Burrito Baby, or BB!

I’ve got lots more to tell you all about the first three weeks of BB’s life, so keep your eyes peeled for more posts. Also, there’s still time to nominate Mum’s the Word for Best Pregnancy Blog in the MAD blog awards, if you feel like doing us a favour…

Sometimes, Breast Is NOT Always Best

Bottle FeedingI promised myself I wasn’t going to chime in on this debate, it’s one of those subjects on which people will never agree and I completely respect the right of any woman to make the decision she wants to make in regards her own body and that of her baby. However, this latest piece of news about breastfeeding is leaving me feeling really upset. In case you haven’t heard, the Government has put forward a proposal to offer mothers who choose to breastfeed their babies a £200 shop voucher as a reward.

According to the BBC: “The pilot scheme is being targeted at deprived areas of South Yorkshire and Derbyshire and funded through a collaboration between government and the medical research sector. A third area is expected soon with the plan to trial it on 130 women who have babies from now until March. If it proves successful, a nationwide pilot could be rolled out next year.”

While I don’t debate that helping women who want to breastfeed is a positive thing, this scheme couldn’t be any less helpful to women who are not in a position to be able to breastfeed. Further to this, there needs to be a more general acknowledgement that being ‘physically unable’ to breastfeed isn’t the only valid reason for women to choose not to do it. What about those women for whom there’s a psychological issue? Is it fair to further add to the stigma for them?

The main reason I wasn’t going to comment on this issue was because of my own relationship with breastfeeding. As soon as I fell pregnant with Sausage, I knew that I would be unable to do it. The thought of breastfeeding is literally repellent to me; the thought of a child latched on to my nipple makes me feel physically nauseous (for reasons which are real and genuine, but I’m not going to go into here) and while some women may consider it selfish of me to not try and overcome these issues and feed my child, for me it was easier to reduce that pressure and give my child adequate nutrition by other means, enabling me to concentrate on being the best mother that I could be.

Am I jealous of earth-mother types who have no problem breastfeeding? Well, yes, I suppose I am, but only because they’re viewed as better mothers than me. As it turns out, because Sausage was in the NICU and I didn’t get to hold her until she was a week old, I never produced any milk at all, not even a slight leakage, so when people ask about feeding, this is the part I tell them, so worried I am about the stigma of bottle feeding by choice. But, consider this:

I’ve never smacked my child.

She’s never stayed with anyone other than Husband and I overnight and we rarely go out as a couple and leave her with anyone else.

She’s developmentally advanced for her age.

She’s kind, polite, well spoken and deeply considerate of others.

Do I deserve vouchers for this? Is none of this on-par in terms of importance with how I chose to nourish her as a baby? Does the person that we’ve raised not have more of an impact on society than whether she was fed from a bottle?

Whilst talking about this on Twitter yesterday, the Tots100 Twitter team asked:

totstweet

In short, my answer to this is no, you can’t please everyone all the time, but I’m not sure if this scheme does represent the many OR the few in either case. I receive a whole load of press releases each day and this morning alone, I’ve received emails with the following titles:

“Newly-Qualified Student Midwives Cannot Find Jobs”

“Pay Freeze Forces Nurses To Take On Extra Shifts”

“Maternal Mental Health Alliance Launches Innovative Guidance About Specialist Mental Health Midwives”

I’ve blogged before about the fact that I’m a huge fan of the NHS, but surely these three short sentences illustrate perfectly that there are SO many more valuable areas in which money could be spent? I understand that it’s NHS policy to encourage breast above bottle, but surely improving care and empowering women by helping them to have happy births is a far more sensible distribution of resources? As a mother who dealt with more than her share of pregnancy and post-natal issues, I can wholeheartedly say that a very close second, in terms of importance, to the health of the child is the mental health and happiness of the mother and pressurising women with financial incentives is just cruel.

In typical Tory fashion, the areas which have been chosen to pilot this scheme are ‘deprived’, which means that the Government is basically making new mothers jump through hoops for a small financial gain. Does that not seem rather distasteful to you? What of those women who have genuine issues with breastfeeding, but feel unable to turn down the financial incentive because of their circumstances? One of the biggest factors in causing post-natal depression is the feeling of loss of control at some point during the pregnancy or birthing process, so by forcing women to make decisions which make them uncomfortable, because they simply cannot say no to the cash, makes me genuinely concerned about the potential for a huge rise in cases on PND in the UK.

And more to the point, what right do these people have to try and regulate our breasts? There are FAR bigger issues to deal with than this and encroaching on women’s freedom like this is disgusting. But I’m not at all surprised – it’s Conservative mandate to systematically dismantle and divide, starting with the poor.

I guess we should have all seen this coming, really.

We’re Fine.

Through my work with Maternity Matters and involvement with the Birth Trauma Association, I read a lot of stuff by women who’ve suffered similar trauma and disappointment to what my family went through when Sausage was born. I read about people who are let down by a lack of care, poor facilities and a health service which treats them like a number. I talk to people who feel alone, like no-one understands their feelings and thoughts and I do my best to let them know that I know exactly how they feel. I know Susanne won’t mind me saying that she does the same and I’ve seen her counselling others through their heartache on many an occassion.

It’s Sausage’s 3rd birthday in just under three weeks and I have something that I wanted to share with anyone who may read this. It’s really important that I get this out there and I genuinely hope that people read this and are comforted by my words.The thing I need to say is this:

We’re okay.

Three years ago, I thought my heart would never stop hurting. I thought I’d be consumed by my rage, feeling at times that I fully understood spontaneous combustion, convinced that it happened to people who spent their waking hours burning with white-hot rage. I thought that every time I looked at my daughter I’d see the tubes and wires that covered her the first time I laid eyes on her. I thought I’d never be the same again.

But we’re okay.

Yes, I’m still angry, I still have huge chunks of my memory missing, I probably won’t ever be the same again in many ways. But I don’t want to be. I wouldn’t wipe my memory of all of the bad things that happened because I’d be doing my daughter a huge disservice if I did. I need to remember. But all of that doesn’t detract from the fact that we’re fine. That doesn’t give credence to the insensitive morons who say that we should just be grateful that our children have turned out okay. I just hope I can give some of you some hope, when it feels as though the black cloud will never clear.You need to know that it’s OKAY to feel this way.

One of the things that I was adamant about in my birth plan was that I wanted to have skin-to-skin contact with my daughter when she was born. Because I was unconscious and she was so poorly, this wasn’t even vaguely an option, but what I need you to know is that it hasn’t affected our relationship one iota. We’re as close and two human beings could possibly be, despite the fact that I couldn’t hold her until her 7th day of life, so anyone who worries that a lack of contact early on will have a detrimental effect on your relationship needs to try to remember this.

I’m not trying to preach and I’m certainly not trying to demean or belittle the feeling of anyone who is suffering the effects of a traumatic experience. I’m just hoping that my experience can help others and let you know that you will be okay. It may never go away completely, but it won’t always be as fresh and painful as it is now.

It may be a cliché, but time really is a great healer.

Maternity Matters Newsletter

It’s been a week since Susanne and I launched Maternity Matters and I don’t think we could have asked for a better response than the one we’ve had. We’re overwhelmed with the comments, tweets and messages that we’ve had from the wonderful community of bloggers, parents and Twitter friends that have been a part of all of this, and we’d like to say a massive thank you to all of you. We couldn’t have started without you, and we hope that you’ll continue to support and contribute to Maternity Matters. We really feel as though we’ve started something important and special.

Launch day was a day of news, on Saturday we read about how Susanne cannot watch One Born Every Minute, and we want to follow that up by planning a 4OD viewing of an episode, alongside a Twitter party for anyone who’d like to join in, in the hope that we can support and encourage each other to face our fears. She also wrote about how Motherhood has changed her, whilst I talked about my scars, both physical and emotional. I published my birth story for the first time ever, and was truly moved by what you all had to say. We also introduced The Birth Trauma Association, an organisation that help to spark the idea for this site, and for who we hope to do some fundraising in the future.

Over the course of the week, we’ve heard the amazing Mummy Beadzoid tell us her extremely emotional and traumatic story about the premature birth of her child, read about the effects that birth can have on Fathers, learned about effective methods of holistic therapy in the form of EFT, and about the incredible efforts of George and Tim Sexton, the brothers who are planning to cycle 1700km across Europe to raise money for SANDS, as well as all of the other maternity news.

We hope that week two is as successful as the first, we hope you continue to read and find Maternity Matters informative, but most of all we hope we can help you, in ways that we ourselves were not.

If you’d like to contribute to Maternity Matters, please email Susanne@maternitymatters.net. For any technical questions about advertising, badges or hosting a Maternity Matters linky on your own blog, please email Jayne@maternitymatters.net

Thanks again, and take care.

Maternity Matters – My Birth Story

Today, for the first time, I published my birth story on our new site, Maternity Matters. I’d like to post it here as this is my personal blog and it just feels right to have a record of it along with everything else I’ve written for Mum’s the Word. Please hop over to Maternity Matters and read all of the other stories we have on there too.

I started blogging back in October, and have attempted to write my birth story many times. Each time I stop after the first paragraph, unable to find the words that properly convey the gravity of what happened. Unable to find words to do enough justice to what my little girl was put through. I don’t even know if I’ll finish this attempt. But I’m going to try.

I’ll start with my pregnancy. I found out that I was pregnant on the night before Christmas Eve, 2007. I’d been ill for a couple of weeks, randomly puking, and I thought I’d picked up a bug. But it got worse and worse until I started puking up blood and Husband decided that enough was enough. We went to A&E where they performed various tests and when the doctor walked back through the curtain with that grave look on his face, I was convinced I had a bleeding ulcer. “Er…did you know you’re pregnant?!” were not the words I expected to come next! Turns out it was hyperemesis gravidarum, and it had made me tear a hole in my oesophagus.

Needless to say, we were overjoyed. Shocked and absolutely shit-scared, but overjoyed! The sickness continued until I was about five and a half months pregnant, and then I found out that I had gestational diabetes. I had a feeling that I would have, seeing as just about every member of my Mum’s side of the family is diabetic, but it was still a pain. Speaking of pain, I then got SPD, a horrible condition which makes your pelvic ligaments loosen too early, so I spend the last part of my pregnancy in a girdle. Mmm, sexy!

Despite a miserable pregnancy, we took it in our stride, attending regular appointments with my consultant, moving house and generally readying ourselves for the arrival of our daughter. I had asked Dr. XX if, with all of my conditions, it wouldn’t be more sensible to just have a planned caesarian, but was dismissed, and more or less laughed out of the office. Toward the end, I started to show warning signs for pre-eclampsia, swollen ankles, feet and hands, protein in my urine and slightly raised blood pressure, but apparently not enough to do anything about it. Because I had gestational diabetes the consultant, in all of her wisdom, decided that I shouldn’t be allowed to go over my due date and would need to be induced so that I didn’t give birth to a ten pound whopper. I was booked in on 5th August, just two days before my due date, and the inducement process began.

We arrived at the hospital at around 8am, if memory serves, and were shown to a bed. A nurse arrived to get the process started and I was given a ‘gel’. We sat around, reading, chatting and listening to music to try and pass the day, until I was given another gel at lunch time. More waiting, another gel at tea time, and still nothing. Around 10pm, Husband was told to go home, and I spent a miserable night alone on the ward.

The next day, husband arrived back bright and early and we waited around to find out what was going on. My consultant came and ordered more gels and monitoring, so that we knew what was going on with the baby. She disappeared, but promised to come back before the end of the day. We waited around until lunchtime before the nurse came and administered the next gel. During this time, various women had come on and off of the ward, and I’d been forced to listen to two different women having their waters broken. This was particularly horrendous as I’d been told that I’d probably have to have mine broken too, and I’d sat in bed and listened to these women literally scream their way through having it done to them.

By about half four nothing else had happened, so I called the Midwife over to ask where my consultant was. She went off to ask, and was informed that the consultant had gone home, despite her promise to come back and see me. At this point, I don’t know if it was the stress of the situation, but my blood pressure started to rise and the protein in my urine got worse. A junior doctor came to see me and his exact words were “If it were down to me, I’d give you a caesarean right now, but if I go against Dr. XX, she’ll chop my hands off”. Off he went, and left me feeling ill, worrying about my baby and wondering what the hell needed to happen for them to start paying attention. I made a bit of a fuss and they phoned my consultant only to be told “She can wait until I come back in the morning”

At about 5.30, they brought me some dinner, and before I ate, I nipped to the loo. Just as I pulled my trousers back up, I felt a click and a thud, and my waters broke. I walked back to my bed to change and it wasn’t long before the contractions started. The pain was not like I had expected. It came on so strong and fast and I was pacing the ward like a caged tiger, trying to work out what I could do to relieve the pain. At one point I was pressing myself backwards against the wall, convinced it would help. Don’t ask why, it was just an instinctive thing. Most women dilate at about 1cm per hour during a first labour. I went from nothing to 5cm dilated within about 50 minutes. Because it was all happening so fast, I was moved to a delivery room where I went on gas and air and from here everything goes a bit fuzzy.

I have no concept of how time passed during this part of my labour, but I was hooked up to a monitor so that the delivery nurses could see my contractions, and I was huffing on the gas and air like my life depended on it. The nurse kept insisting that it “shouldn’t be hurting at the moment” and trying to take the gas and air away, but I kept trying to tell her that it bloody well was hurting. A more senior nurse came in and explained to her that, yes, on the monitor she could see that my contractions were going up at the worst point, and coming back down again in between, but the reason it was still hurting was because I wasn’t coming back down fully, my body had gone into a state of almost constant contraction.

As I said, it’s all a bit fuzzy from here, my Husband could give you a much clearer version of events, but the next thing I remember is shouting that I wanted an epidural to help with the pain (an idea that I’d previously been totally against), and they brought in the anaesthetist to sort it out. As soon as the spinal tap went in, and the epidural switched on, my blood pressure started to drop dangerously low, so it was switched off again and removed. All I remember is a cloudy room with people running around. They got me on my back to be examined, with my legs in stirrups, to test the baby’s blood oxygen levels by passing a tiny wire into the top of her head. They weren’t at all happy with the result and I was pushed through a set of doors into an operating theatre.

I remember someone spraying me with something cold. They had thought that the epidural had worked enough to give me a c-section there and then, but I could still feel everything. I started screaming, thinking that they were going to operate with no anaesthetic, and finally managed to communicate to them that I needed to be put out. They agreed and I was given a general anaesthetic. The last thing I remember thinking was that I would die and never get to meet my baby.

********************************************************************

I started to come to in the recovery room, and all I was aware of was the fact that there was an enormous storm raging outside. The thunder was almost deafening and the room would be lit up by the flashes of light every few seconds. When I look back, I like to think that this was nature’s fanfare for my amazing little girl.

There were two nurses there, and I tried to ask where my baby was. All they could tell me was that she was being looked after and that I couldn’t see her at the moment. Tony gave me a Polaroid of our baby. She was tiny, swollen and covered in machines. She had one eye open and was looking at the camera with an expression that I’ll never forget. After some time, they decided to move me to a ward, where I spent a fitful night half-sleeping because of the anaesthesia and worrying about my baby.

I didn’t get to meet Sausage until the next day, or take in the full gravity of how ill she was. The trauma of the birth had left her unable to breathe, regulate her own blood sugar, suck or regulate her temperature. She had a tube in her mouth, one up her nose, and various canulas on her hands and feet. She was wearing only a nappy and although she was 7lb 5oz at birth, she looked tiny. When she was born, her APGAR score was 2, which is considered ‘critically low’ and her stomach was full of maternal blood, which they has to flush out, by injecting milk into the tube up her nose, which  went all the way to her stomach, and then suck it back out again. As she has no suck reflex, she was also fed like this for about a week.

Back on the ward that I was on, Husband had to bring food to me as the staff kept forgetting to feed me. Because I’d come in in the middle of the night, no-one had added me to the list, so I was recovering from major surgery with nothing to eat or drink. After another night in hospital, the staff on the post natal ward started to hint that I should go home, and after they suggested that I was taking up room that could be needed elsewhere, I decided to leave. That was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. Walking out of that hospital and leaving my daughter there will haunt me for the rest of my life.

The next week was spent sleeping, waking up, and going to the NICU unit, coming home, sleeping, waking up, going to the NICU unit, and on and on. The first thing I would do when I opened my eyes was phone the hospital to ask how she was doing, and it was the last thing I did before I went to bed. Sausage went from strength to strength, coming off of the breathing tube quickly, and generally showing us what a little warrior she is. After 7 days in the NICU, we were told that she was well enough to come home, but I would have to spend a night in the family unit with her to establish a feeding routine. That night was the best night of my life. I’m still, to this day, gutted that Husband couldn’t be there too, but getting to sleep in a room with my daughter, being able to hold her, feed her, change her bum, all of those things that most new mums take for granted, was the best gift anyone could have ever given me. Up until that point, I’d had to watch doctors and nurses care for her, and though I was so thankful to them for looking after her, I did develop a huge sense of resentment toward them as they were doing all of the things that I wanted to do.

After a night of very little sleep, Husband came to the hospital and we waited for my Mum and Dad to come and pick us up to take us home. As if everything we’d gone through wasn’t bad enough one junior doctor, against the wishes of the senior team, decided to tell us that she thought Sausage was showing signs of Down’s Syndrome, and that she wanted her to be tested for it. We were mortified, but agreed to the tests, which would take a week to come back. Even when we were allowed to have our baby, we found it hard to enjoy that first week, worrying about what the tests may show, not because it would have changed how we felt about her, but it could have meant the our daughter would have a very different life to the one we’d envisaged for her. Walking out of the hospital with our daughter is a moment that I’ll remember forever. The feeling of victory, of relief, was overwhelming and I think we smiled and cried all the way home.

It’s taken us a really long time to be able to think or talk about any of the events of those two weeks. If it weren’t for the negligence of one consultant, I would have been given a routine c-section and my daughter could have avoided such a traumatic start in life. She suffered unnecessarily, and for that, I will never, ever forgive that woman. It may sound extreme; many people don’t understand and say that I should just be grateful that Sausage is okay now. Believe me, I am, but my hatred for that woman will burn within me until the day I die. Fortunately for her, the midwives, surgical team and NICU doctors and nurses at the hospital are incredible, otherwise she may have robbed Husband and I of even more than she already has.

I wasn’t the first person to hold my baby. I wasn’t the first person to feed, change, bathe, clothe or sooth my baby. I’ll never be able to get that back. But never mistake that for me not being grateful for what I do have, because I couldn’t be more so.