Welcome to the world Charlie (Part 2)
So our little boy Charlie arrived just over a week ahead of his due date and if you've read my previous post you know we had a positive birth but that there a few twists and turns along the way, and little did we know that there were more to follow.
Charlie's initial newborn checks detected a very rapid breathing rate which they wanted to monitor so we were moved upstairs to Bonington Ward where I had my own room. As Charlie's breathing didn't slow, he was started on antibiotics that evening and had blood cultures taken to check for signs of infection. The following day we were told that he had contracted Group B Strep (GBS) during delivery and would need a full course of antibiotics, as well as having a lumbar puncture to check for meningitis. As a new mum and mum to a toddler, this was devastating news as I'd thought we be home within a day or so to begin our lives as a family of 4.
I initially was very upset with this news, combined with tiredness and the fact that my milk came in very quickly, I felt pretty damn emotional about the whole situation. Of course this wasn't helped by the fact that I gave birth in a lockdown so my husband could only visit us for 1.5 hours each day. The first emotion that hit me after the news was guilt. Guilt that I "had passed on" the bacteria to Charlie, and guilt that I wouldn't get to see my daughter for 10 more days (she wasn't allowed in to visit). The staff were amazing when I broke down, telling me they'd do all that they could to support me and with a little bit of time (and some sleep), I began to gain perspective - I made a decision to see the positives in the whole situation. First of all, this one-on-one time with Charlie was irreplaceable and I would never have had such quality time if we had gone home straight away. Secondly, my daughter was getting amazing one-on-one time with her Daddy and got to finally see my parents as they looked after her during hospital visiting hours. Although I missed her so much, we video called a few times each day and she understood I was in hospital where the doctors were looking after me and baby.
In the long days that followed, Charlie got stronger and improved day by day, but he had a tough journey to get there. He had antibiotics twice a day via a cannula in his tiny hand, had a lumbar puncture, and was pricked multiple times to monitor his jaundice. As he got better, his breathing rate eventually dropped to normal levels (going from 92 to 49!) and the doctors talked about how if it continued that he might be able to come home after 7 days of antibiotics - cue one very happy Mummy!
The days were long in the hospital and I followed the midwives' suggestions that getting out for a walk would be good for me. So each day, I left Charlie in their capable hands and walked round the hospital grounds for 20 mins or so - the fresh air felt amazing but left me a little dizzy!
We ended up getting into our own little routine and eventually the midwives' observations became less frequent as the paediatricians saw improvements in Charlie's health (his breathing rate slowed and lumbar puncture/bloods came back negative for infection). On about day 6, the paediatrician advised that we should stay in for the full day 10 course of antibiotics unless Charlie's second cannula gave up (which it did at the end of day 8). From that point on, they monitored him for a further 24 hours and then we were finally given the all clear to go home! I actually kept expecting them to revoke their decision after all that time... But on Day 10 after Charlie's birth, I put him in his car seat and we said goodbye to the ward before heading home.
The journey home felt completely surreal but everything came right as soon as I walked through our front door and received the biggest hug off my daughter - we were finally home and could begin the next part of our journey as a family of 4.