Grace’s Story

I was 28 weeks pregnant when the midwives found something wrong. I was measuring quite small and was immediately sent for a growth scan. During the scan it was noticed that there was intermittency in the blood flow from the placenta to my little girl, she was also only measuring at 22 weeks.

The next couple of days went by with worry and panic, being monitored every day and having scans every 2 days. The problem wasn’t resolving and my little girl was becoming incredibly distressed.

On my 5th day in hospital my consultant basically said if they didn’t deliver now my baby wouldn’t make it more than another few days, so I was prepped for surgery and taken to theatre.

My beautiful rainbow baby was born at 4:36pm weighing a tiny 1lb9oz (715g)! We were warned before hand it’s okay if she doesn’t cry, don’t think there’s something wrong. Yet as soon as the bag was broken she let out an amazing cry, letting the whole theatre know she was here to stay! She was immediately taken away and ventilated, put in a plastic bag and rushed to high dependency intensive care. For the next 9 hours I lay in a hospital bed, not knowing if my baby would make it and not being able to see her due to having an emergency C-section.

At 2am I was wheeled down to meet my baby. I have never seen anything like the neonatal unit; machines everywhere, beeping constantly, and all around me tiny babies in glass boxes fighting for their lives. The emotions that hit you are inexplainable – fear, dread and a total feeling of being overwhelmed. Yet the minute I saw my tiny baby, putting up such a huge fight to live was incredible! She was the most perfect little thing I’d ever seen!

“For the next 9 hours I lay in a hospital bed, not knowing if my baby would make it and not being able to see her…”

Over the next few weeks we sat by her side day in day out, reassuring her that we were there and that we loved her! Nothing can prepare you for the mix of emotions you go through being a NICU parent – we had excellent days where she was taken off CIPAP and her lines removed and then some horrible days where she would have to go back on anti-biotics and be transferred back to high dependency but we never ever stopped believing that our little girl would fight!

We ended up at the point where my milk started to disperse – I wasn’t making enough to fill her tiny tummy so had to make the hard decision to put her on formula. I had a feeling of complete failure! Giving her my milk felt like the only thing I could really do, I wasn’t her mother. I felt I had no decisions or say in her care as it was what was best for her, but the nurses were so amazing and they took such amazing care of our little girl!

Finally at 7 weeks old she started to feed by bottle slowly and steadily eventually taking a full feed once a day – but we still felt so far away from having her in our arms at home. But she was getting bigger, stronger and more determined to come home to her mummy, daddy and big sister.

At 9 weeks old we were sat down and told that we could take our baby home! We went through basic life support and all her medication she would have to take daily yet nothing seemed to sink in only the thought that after all the tears, smiles, hopes and restless nights our baby was going to be where she belonged – with her family!

Grace was discharged from the Royal Oldham Neonatal Unit on the 14th June 2015 weighing 3lb15oz, 2 weeks before her due date!

She is our miracle baby and such a fighter! We couldn’t have done it without the support of the nurses and doctors and all the outreach people who help and understand what it’s like to be a neonatal parent.

It was hard and upsetting at times but to see the fight for life these tiny miracles have keeps you going day in and day out! Our baby girl is now 4lb 10oz on what should have been her due date, she is still tiny but so strong!

I count my blessings each and every single day and still cannot believe that someone so small and fragile did so amazingly well!

Thank you for letting me share my story.

Story submitted by Shanice Smith, Oldham, Manchester.

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