I was 23 years old when I found out I was pregnant and I was over the moon. All I had ever wanted was to be a mum! I couldn’t wait to start my perfect little family of three. We bought our dream family home and at 16 weeks found out we would be expecting a beautiful baby boy!
At my 20 week scan we found out that my cervix was measuring shorter and that I would need weekly check ups. Things were still calm and relaxed at this point and although preterm labour had been mentioned, I was naive and thought that just meant staying in hospital with your baby until their due date. After all, I was born four weeks early.
As each week passed, my cervix was getting shorter. Me and my partner had our last child-free holiday booked and I was told to cancel. it was at this point I knew things were getting serious. At 22 weeks 4 days I went for my usual check up and was told I needed emergency surgery. I was to have a emergency cerclage placed to try and prevent preterm labour. I was taken into a room and told to expect the worst and that the chance of a miscarriage was very high. I had to walk past all of the heavily pregnant ladies and sit in a room until they were ready for me to go in.
It was on the operating table we named our baby ‘George’. He needed a name and an identity if anything was to happen. The procedure went well and I was sent home to rest. I was told I needed strict bed rest but after what I had read, I decided that was for the best.
At 23 weeks 2 days pregnant, my partner had gone to work away and I had been up all night with mild back pain. I called my mum and she said we should go to the hospital. When we got there, I got checked over and they were about to let me leave, until I told them I needed to go to the toilet. It was at this point things started to get serious. I was in labour. The consultant told me to call my partner to come back to the hospital. I was very aware that for my baby to be viable I needed to get to 24 weeks. I had been given all the medication that I could have to stop my labour and now there wasn’t any other options. I was visited frequently by the NICU doctors who would have heavy discussions with me telling me my baby wouldn’t make it.
At 23 weeks 4 days they removed my cerclage. I was devastated. My baby was so close to viability but even then, it was apparent he had no rights. I was allowed no monitors on to check the baby during labour, George was breach and I wasn’t allowed a C-section to save him, because it wouldn’t benefit me. I didn’t have a clue what was going to happen and whether my baby was still alive.
At 23 weeks 6 days, I pushed my baby into the world. I didn’t dare look at him as I had no idea what to expect. My 700 gram baby came out fighting! He was put into a small plastic bag and intubated at the side of me. I was told he was alive at 11 minutes old and he was whisked away to NICU.
I was thrown into a world I never new existed. The NICU world. Alarms, wires and monitors. My baby laid there, his eyes still fused shut and his skin transparent. I didn’t dare touch him. Life was a blur.
On day 6 of life, George developed a condition called NEC which is common in preterm infants and he required emergency surgery. Although the surgery was extremely complex, it had been done multiple times before. But unfortunately things went wrong. Whilst making the incision, George’s liver got damaged. They stitched him up as quickly as possible, gave him lots and lots of blood transfusions and sent him back for us to say our goodbyes. I didn’t know what was happening. I told the consultant I must go and get my baby a birth certificate whilst he’s still alive. He fought so hard for this. She told me if I left the hospital, I would regret it as he only has a couple of hours. We got George christened and were told what was going to happen next. All of the plans were getting put into place, from photographers to his final outfit. I told my family it was the end and George is letting me know he has had enough. To everyone’s shock George survived. He fought through it and just in the nick of time he showed us he wasn’t going anywhere.
We thought we were over the worst but unfortunately that wasn’t the case. George went on to have another three surgeries; bowel surgery, eye surgery and heart surgery. We got told on many more occasions George wasn’t going to make it and each time he bounced back. We were also told George was blind and deaf. We spent 9 months in intensive care, 9 months not being alone for a single second as a family.
The day come and we were discharged. We saw people leave all the time and we never thought that would be us! George is now two years old and still very complex but he still has the bounce back attitude and fights with all of his might to achieve his goals. He is the most incredible, happiest little boy you will ever meat and I am so proud to be his mum! You can follow the rest of our journey here.
Written by Hanna Rose (mum)
If you would like donate for George to have intense physio therapy at the Bobath Centre in London, please click here.