I remember a beautiful summers day in 2011. I was 7 months pregnant with my long awaited baby. The house was clean and tidy as it usually was, the cars were clean and the nursery was ready, waiting for the new arrival. Me and my husband were looking for something to do. That’s when he decided to decorate the dining room/conservatory. (It was a simple enough task back then). He decided that I should be away from the paint fumes, so I made myself comfortable on a reclining chair in the garden complete with a glass of water and Emma’s diary from my most recent bounty pack. Life was perfect.
That was before I had heard about HIE.
I went into hospital 2 days after my due date for observations and eventually my waters were broken at 40+6. My beautiful baby girl, Jessica was finally born in the early hours of the following day after an extremely traumatic birth. Jessica had suffered a HIE event shortly before birth and was needed resuscitation. She then had a seizure, 30 mins after birth and she was whisked away to SCBU.
Once I was settled on the post-natal ward with all the other mums and their babies all sleeping peacefully my husband was taken to SCBU to “meet” our daughter properly. It was then he was told that she wasn’t doing very well and they wanted to transfer her to a NICU for cooling. He agreed but wanted me to “meet” her too so I was wheeled over and that’s when we heard the term HIE.
After cooling she had an MRI at 10 days old, the results of which were catastrophic. We were broken, this event, this HIE had literally changed our lives forever, but it was something I had never heard of. How is it possible not to have heard anything about something so common and so devastating? We were then sat talking to professionals about her quality of life and how she would be affected if she even survived without the CPAP keeping her airways open. The medics doubted that she would survive so we agreed to remove the CPAP and let nature take its course. This is the point where Jessica had other ideas and continued to support her own airway.
10 years on and Jessica is left with complex disabilities, but she is overall an incredibly happy, cheeky little girl who doesn’t need words to communicate. And although we still have tough days, we have found a way to live despite it being a world away from where we thought we would be.