So here we are, Arabella is 10 weeks old and the last 10 weeks have been hard, not I’ve got a newborn hard, it’s been my baby is ill hard.
The first week of her life was amazing. We were so smitten. We had been through so much to get her. Our perfect baby.
It all started at 8 days old, she was still jaundiced. I was breastfeeding. She had lost weight again, the midwife advised us to give her a top up of formula and sent us off to the GP, we saw the GP, at this point Arabella wouldn’t wake up and take a feed, the GP then sent us to the child assessment unit (children’s A&E), we were seen very quickly. Whilst my husband was undressing her so the nurses could weigh her, Arabella had an episode, which looked like a fit in his hands and stopped breathing. You felt a current of panic run round the room, the nurse grabbed her, grabbed and oxygen mask and put it on her. We waited for a trolley so they could take her to resus, the trolley arrived, the nurse picked her up to move her over, Arabella stopped breathing again, the nurse then literally ran off to resus with my baby, you know it’s something serious when I usually calm medical professional is showing signs of panic, this is when the tears started, we didn’t know what was going on, there were no words, I was literally speechless, I’ve had some horrible experiences in my life, but this was by far the worse.
I was given a chair in the corner of the resus room, my husband stood next to me as we helplessly watch probably what was about 10 people work on our 8 day old daughter. She was breathing again at this point, screaming her heart out, I had never heard her cry like that before. They made many attempts to get a line in her to put her on a drip, they took bloods and then took a chest xray. I held her little hand through that.
We were then told they didn’t really know what had happened. That they were giving her antibiotics just incase of an infection and they wanted to do a lumbar puncture to check her spinal fluid for infection.
We were then moved up to high dependancy unit and she was placed in a heated cot and we had our own dedicated nurse.
All I did that night was sit in the chair facing her cot and cry, you don’t expect to be there with your perfect long awaited newborn baby in a hospitals high dependancy unit, it was worse we had no real answers. I was frightened.
She was put on IV antibiotics, just incase, 2 different types.
They suspected sepsis.
They came to do the lumbar puncture in the middle of the night. I couldn’t watch them do this. I had to leave the ward, I felt so selfish but I was already emotionally broken.
She didn’t do it again, we were then moved onto the ward the next day.
I of course had to stay with her as I was breastfeeding, Jamie my husband had to go home in the evening, this was one of the hardest times of my life, alone in a hospital with a poorly baby, with no sleep. I was exhausted.
We ended up staying in for 5 days, we were let home after everything came back all clear. It was put down to one of those things.
We slowly got back onto our feet, got back into a routine.
My husband retuned to work, he currently works away 2 days a week in Essex and stays overnight.
This was my first time solo parenting, the day went fine, we went to bed early, I put her in her bednest co sleeper crib next to my bed.
She started having a splutter, she’d been a bit a sick, I picked her up and winded her, she was fine. I then rolled a towel up and led her on her side incase she did it again.
Fast forward 20 minutes, I looked over at her as she was stiring, she was bright red, wasn’t breathing and just had this horrible look of terror in her eyes.
I picked her up, winded her, she still wasn’t breathing, I tried placing her on her front and winding her, she still wasn’t breathing. I picked her up and looked her in the eyes and pleaded her to breath, all I saw was that same look of terror.
I tried blowing in her nose and mouth. Still nothing.
I noticed her mouth was clamped shut, I forced my finger in, I put my finger down her throat. She started breathing, I felt like I could breathe again.
I immediately rang an ambulance, I hadn’t cried till this point, then it started, I told the operator my baby had stopped breathing.
A first response paramedic arrived. At this point she was breathing and alert.
The ambulance then arrived, off we went. In the ambulance she became unresponsive, floppy and grey.
We were taken straight into resus at the hospital, same room, it was like history repeating itself.
This time I was alone. I called my husband after the ambulance. He immediately started off on the 4 hour journey home.
In resus they took bloods, she started screaming again, this seemed to wake her up.
We were then put in a room in A&E. We were there for hours, I was exhausted. My husband arrived, I fell asleep on the bed.
The doctor came to see us, more bloods and admitted us to the paediatrics ward.
We spent 3 days here again, the consultant on the ward believed what was causing her to have these episodes was silent reflux, something I’ve never heard of before. We were given gaviscon and sent home.
The gaviscon seemed to make her worse, she was constantly in pain with her stomach. We took her to out of hours on a Saturday morning, they gave us ranitidine. This seemed to do the trick.
At this point I was still breastfeeding.
I had noticed Arabella had tongue tie, the GP said she didn’t. I took it upon myself to see a private lactation consultant. We paid £150 to have her tongue tie cut. This was mostly in hope that it would help her reflux. At this point we also had thrush. Our feeding got worse.
I went to see the NHS breastfeeding midwife and was told I had been doing it wrong all along, this knocked my confidence and made me feel like a failure. She just couldn’t learn to latch properly now after feeding so long with a tongue tie.
I went home from the NHS breastfeeding midwife and had a massive melt down. I stopped breastfeeding. I still feel very sad about that decision today. But I needed some pressure taking off me.
After switching to formula Arabella’s reflux got progressively worse. She at times sounded like she was drowning on her own vomit.
I had to buy an angel care movement monitor to just give me the confidence to go to sleep.
At this point my faith in myself of being a mother was rock bottom. All I did was cry. I just wanted my baby better.
A friend mentioned to me something called milk protein allergy, I had a look online. Arabella had a lot of the symptoms. I put it to the back of my mind.
One Monday evening Arabella started screaming, it lasted for 6 hours, she was unconsolable. She was refusing to feed.
The day after I went to my GP, he told me to go see my health visitor that afternoon as he didn’t know much about babies.
Off I went to my HV. I told her my concerns and suspicion of a milk allergy. She told me it was colic and that she was fine and gaining weight. She clearly wasn’t fine. She then brought the other GP to see us, who also said it’s colic and gave us more gaviscon, even after I repeatedly told her it was no help at all.
I was quite mad at this point, all I was getting asked was is it my first. I was made out to be a neurotic first time mum. I know babies cry, that’s normal. This wasn’t normal.
I was at my wits end. I’m on a parenting Facebook group so I went on there to vent and air my suspicions. A lovely lady said it sounded like a milk allergy and suggested trying hypoallergenic formula, after all it wouldn’t do any harm. She sent me 3 tins she had surplus. I tried Arabella on it. The change was instant. She was like a different child, she still has some reflux but nothing like it was.
So off me and hubby went to the doctors after Arabella being on her new formula with a tin of it. We were finally taken seriously, given a perscription of the formula and a referral to paediatrics.
What should have been the best 10 weeks of my life turned into the worst, I still feel guilty for not being able to enjoy her. I love her with all my heart. But have the last 10 weeks been enjoyable? No.
It’s been one thing after another.
I’m hoping now she’s on the mend we can enjoy her, the last week has been amazing. Smiles and giggles. A normal happy baby. Just please let it last.
Here are a few pictures from our hospital stays.