emergency section

Lisa’s Real Birth Story | Emergency c-section and NICU

Lisa had an emergency c-section and a challenging stay in the NICU unit. Find out more about her story.

Where & how was your baby born? Was it as you expected and did you have any support / tools?

My first son was born via an emergency c-section. I turned up at the hospital for what I thought was a routine scan. We arrived early and struggled to find parking so initially I went into the scan on my own while my husband search for parking.

The sonographer started the scan and pointed out a few things to me and then told me my husband should be there. She told me to call him and tell him to park in the emergency bay. Being an emergency worker he wasn’t keen but did as he was told and soon joined me.

The scan started again and we were immediately told something was very wrong with our baby boy. The sonographer had already sent the images from the first scan to the team upstairs. She left us on our own for a few minutes so she could go and see what the consultants wanted to do.

My husband held me as tears streamed down my face. The sonographer was back within minutes and I was to go up to theatre right now for an emergency c-section.

I waddled back through the waiting room that was full of expectant mothers. I turned my head so they hopefully wouldn’t see my tears. We got in the lift and my husband took me in a big bear hug, later he told me he knew things were bad as the sonographer was crying too and he didn’t want me to see.

We were greeted as soon as the lift doors opened and whisked off to a private room. I was stripped, had my blood taken, catheter inserted and had several members of the theatre team come in and ask me the same set of questions. Then I was rushed to surgery.

My husband was taken to get a sterile gown on. He was told that our baby’s health conditions meant he wasn’t likely to survive delivery, if he did survive he wasn’t likely to live long. In fact he statistically had a 10% chance of survival.

Our son was born with Hydrops Fetalis and SVT (Supraventricular Tachycardia). Hydrops meant he had fluid all over his body but if it reached his heart and lungs he would have drowned. SVT is where the heart misfires an electrical signal telling the heart to beat faster. His heart was beating at 320bpm when he was born (that’s 6 beats per second!)

We were allowed to see our son for a minute after he was born before he was whisked away to the neonatal unit.

I was stitched back up and sent to recovery. Then I was sent back to a private room. My husband was allowed to go and see our son early in the evening. He had strict instructions to take lots of photos. My little baby boy was covered in wires and tubes but was fighting hard to live.

My husband was then sent home and I was sent to the ward with the other mums and babies. The staff were so apologetic that they couldn’t put me anywhere else. The nurses were amazing though and looked after me so well.

This isn’t the end of the story but it does have a happy ending. We spent 73 days on the NICU and after 4 days of being home we had to resuscitate our little boy. But he’s now 4 and happy and healthy!

What are your top tips for others going through birth?

Try not to get fixated on a plan. Try and go with the flow. Talk to your partner beforehand so they are clear on what you want and can advocate on your behalf if you’re not able to do so.

What aspects of your journey are you most proud of and / or did you enjoy?

I’m proud of how my son fought for his life. I loved kangaroo care (cuddles) in the NICU. Also evenings were quiet on the NICU so I loved going in to do the last feed and story time.

If you could do anything differently what would it be?

Listen to my own intuition a bit more. I got really good at it when my son came home but I wish I had used it a bit more during his hospital stay.

What helped you?

Asking lots of questions! No question is a stupid question and if I couldn’t remember an answer I would ask it again.

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