Elizabeth Hunter

Elizabeth was born at full term plus 2 weeks; in fact she had to be persuaded out with a ventouse delivery! We got home the following afternoon and all seemed to be going well. However on that first night home she stopped feeding, and at 2 days old our midwife sent us back to the hospital. Elizabeth was quickly transferred to the NNU, as she had no blood sugar and a temperature of 33.6 degrees. She was quickly stabilised and we were allowed into the NICU to see her which was quite a shock. Shortly after that, she had her first seizure and continued to do so for the next 48 hours until the doctors found the right drugs to control them. That period was a blur, but we do remember the kindness and dedication of the staff, and were so grateful to be allowed to stay in the parentcraft rooms, despite living close to the hospital. Every footstep startled us to listen to see if someone was coming for us.

Eventually, Elizabeth was stabilised, and she remained in the NICU while she came out of the sedation caused by the drugs, and ran through the course of antibiotics to treat the underlying infection. In that time she went from strength to strength, and was able to take more and more of my milk, thanks to being able to express in the little expressing room. It’s amazing how quickly you adapt to the routine of the hospital, and certain moments stand out: being taken to the quiet room for discussions with the consultant; sitting in the parents’ room, sharing experiences with other parents; and receiving my first mother’s day card, made and delivered by the nurses while I was in the unit giving Elizabeth her 3am feed.

Elizabeth, in the months that followed, was diagnosed with epilepsy as she had further seizures, but these are generally being controlled by medication, and she is a happy and otherwise healthy wee girl, who loves going to nursery, and has a cheery grin and mischievous laugh. We are forever grateful for the expertise and facilities provided by the wonderful NHS, and the pastoral care and amenities we parents received really helped us survive our stay in the neonatal unit.