Evie’s Story, by Rachel
I started having labour pains on Friday 16th. Not having a big pain threshold, I was scared, but as they were only twinges I thought that it was just Braxton hicks. I had developed a cold so felt rough. I snuggled on Jack’s sofa and slept most of the weekend. I didn’t want to go to hospital just yet, only to be sent home.
The pains stayed all weekend. I woke up at 5.30am on the Monday and I was in agony. I was lucky to have my mum there who was fantastic. She made me a hot water bottle, cups of tea’s and rubbed my back as I sat on my birthing ball. I could handle it, so I thought I would only be a few cm dilated after hearing stories of labour. I knew I would be here a while. At 11.10 the pain was worse but i managed. Then something felt weird… my waters went at 12.10pm.
My mum phoned the hospital who told us to go to the triage. She also phoned Jack to leave work as the baby was coming! My dad very kindly came home from work to drive me and mum to the hospital. I arrived at the hospital at 12.30pm in agony. As we were waiting for the lift Jack walked through the door, relief ran through me. We went straight up to triage and I was measured. I was 8cm dilated. Wow, I didn’t think I would even be 3 cm!
They took me through to the labour ward and was checked again. From going to one floor to another I was fully dilated our daughter seemed eager to meet us. Lynne, the midwife, put me on a heart monitor to check baby’s heart beat; great 120 throughout. With Entonox, I was in pain. Lynne checked to see if “anything was happening.” Our daughter was born at 2.10pm weighing a great weight at 8lb 11oz.
When she was born she wasn’t breathing properly. She was purple and made no effort to move or breathe. She had caught an infection- GBS (undetected), because we had not been checked or given anti biotics. She also had Sepsis. She seized a few times and had suffered a HIE GRADE2. So, a team of fantastic nurses came in inflated her lungs until she was stable enough to move down the NICU.
We waited for what seems like ages. Jack was looking pale. He had seen more than what I had. I took his hand and smiled. He knew I was just as scared. He told me she would be perfect and was referring to her as Evie, so we chose to name her Evie – which happens to mean life!
The decision to transport her to another hospital for a cooling mat was made pretty quick, roughly 2-3 hours after delivery. However, no ambulance was available until 7pm that evening. We were also told the first 48 hours were crucial and to expect some sort of disability as the cooling mat may not work. They were not going to make the 7-hour window they thought was needed. Evie was going to be transported to the Leeds General Infirmary for the cooling system.
Jack and I finally got to meet her at 7.30pm as they were prepping her. She looked so tired. It was hard not to just pick her up and tell her everything would be ok. We stroked her hand for half an hour and then we went back to the labour ward to wait to be discharged. We were very lucky to have Evie when we did as we were the only family on the labour ward between 2pm and 9.30pm when we left.
We arrived at 10.30 to see her for a couple of hours. I didn’t want to leave her. I cried all the way home but I knew this was the right thing for her. Her dad and I along with Evie’s grandparents visited her every day. Evie responded well to the treatment so day three the doctors took her off oxygen and slowly throughout the day warmed her temperature back to normal.
All the Dr’s were amazed to see this little girl who had been through so much, seeming to be pulling through. Day five Evie was transported back to our local NICU were staff were fantastic at making us feel like even though we had no baby at home we were still mum and dad. Day 7 Evie was allowed to be cuddled… WOW Our first cuddle after 7 days…. WOW, words cannot describe how amazing that felt, it was very hard not to squeeze all my love into one cuddle.
Then everything seemed to go to a halt. She had caught another infection. I was distraught thinking we had come this far and now I was going to lose her. The doctors were convinced the infection was through the long line IV through her belly button. Later that day they took it out but needed to put the cannula somewhere else as it was doing her medication, so they decided to shave both sides of her head to put a cannula in. They had made her poor little feet look like pin cushions, the nurses couldn’t get one in. Luckily, they managed again in her foot. Day 12 Evie was discharged from the hospital. Finally I could be Mum!
Day 14 Evie was booked in for an MRI to see what the HIE had done to her brain. When her consultant phoned he explain that the brain damage was only of the thalamus of the brain, that it was very minor and he was happy with the results as this should not really affect how Evie develops. At nearly 7 she has been discharged from all care relating to HIE and we are getting ready for her to start of year 2. We haven’t forgotten the fight we all went through.