Thursday, 27 January 2011

How this all began, or Mum's story

You’ve heard from Arthur and Simon.  I thought I would tell a bit of my story.  Apologies in advance for grammatical errors.

I’d been on-call overnight on Friday – up ‘til 2am but quiet after that. I was due to be working on Saturday so drove into Northwick Park.  On the way, I started feeling crampy abdominal pains so called Simon and said he might have to come and collect me but to wait and see.  Tried to do some exam practice looking at plain films but could not get comfortable so phoned Simon to get him to come and pick me up.  So Simon got on the tube… 12:10.

Still could not get comfortable - walking up and down the corridor, popping into CT to see my boss and let her know I was going home.  Apparently I didn’t look very well so she agreed that I should go home and get checked out at St. Thomas’.

By 12:45 the discomfort had become pain and it was getting more intense and more frequent.  It slowly dawned on me that this was not right - I phoned Simon again but got no answer as he was still underground: ‘eeek’.  I decided enough was enough and to go to Northwick’s maternity unit but that I needed to go to the toilet beforehand.  My waters broke whilst in the toilet and I found Madhu, one of the other SpRs and then flooded the floor beneath me.  Loud swearing. We grabbed my stuff and I phoned Simon.  He was still on the tube and several stops away... 13:00

I managed to walk out of the Radiology department but only got 3 steps and realized that I couldn’t make it to Maternity.  Madhu grabbed a wheelchair and whisked me round. In the meantime, I spoke to Jean (an Obs and Gynae Reg from medical school) on the phone.  She talked calmly and reassured me.

Madhu and I got to Maternity at about 13:10 and got to the Labour ward desk and started booking in when I felt I needed to push.  I was propelled into a room and Madhu was left to book me in.  An army of people rushed at me, I found myself in a hospital gown and my socks, thinking “Oh God, I haven’t shaved my legs and I need a pedicure!”

The Obs SHO confirmed I was fully dilated.  The Paeds SHO took a brief history.  The Paeds SpR and Anaesthetic Consultant and Obs Consultant were fast bleeped.  It was all so fast and I kept looking at the door as more people came in and went out.  None of them were Simon.  Another cramp (or contraction as they had now become named) came and I needed to push.  ‘No.  Not yet.  He’s not ready.  Simon is not here.’ 

Finally or less than 5 mins later depending on your perspective - Simon ran into the room.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen I, or maybe Arthur, got Simon Eccles to run 1000 yards, all the way from Kenton tube station.  Another contraction and another push and the little man was out: born at 13:28.  Silence, and terror for Simon.

The Paeds team worked on him.  The midwives cleaned me up.  Intubation, ventilation.  Sats 14%. Simon yelling like a consultant not a Dad: Reintubation.  More ventilation.  Sats up to 95%. Incubator prepared and Arthur was taken up to SCBU (Special Baby Care Unit).  Somewhere in all that Arthur even tried to cry – making a small mewing noise – heartbreaking.

Simon and I were left in the delivery room.  We hugged and cried finding it difficult to know if we should be pleased our boy was born or devastated he had arrived so early. 

Up on SCBU, Arthur had lines and more tubes inserted and was stabilized whilst the doctors decided if he should stay at Northwick or be transferred.  He was under 27 weeks and less than 1000g so fell into the ‘extremely premature and extremely low birth weight’.  It was decided he should go to a Level 3 unit.  So Chelsea and Westminster was contacted and transfer arranged. 

I changed out of my gown into scrubs.  I felt fine and was walking around and keeping an eye on Arthur.  Everyone kept asking me if I was OK and if I needed to sit down. 

Arthur was transferred at 7pm.  A bed was free for me at Chelsea too so Simon and I drove to Chelsea.  We arrived and went straight up to NICU.  I was wearing blue scrubs; all the staff were wearing blue scrubs so I got many strange looks and more once they realised I was Arthur’s mum not a member of staff!  Arthur was settled into his SW10 postcode and I was shown the postnatal ward – several double doors down from NICU. 

I spent the night in Chelsea in a sideroom (cot swiftly removed on my arrival) with a broken (on full heat) radiator.  The waterproof mattress added to ‘comfort’ and I didn’t sleep very well.  Too hot, too stressed and too many crying babies.

So…I am well and have been discharged to go home to SE1.  Arthur is ‘stable’ in SW10 and we are going to register his birth in HA1.  3 different NHS Trusts in less than 3 days!  Wonderful care from super people. I guess this is why we pay taxes. 

And now some pics from today:
Day 5 and all's quiet

Made for squeezing

See - me giving Mum a comforting squeeze

Too cool for school!


  1. Amy - I know this is a difficult time for you & Simon and your complete focus is on the lovely baby Arthur so thank you for sharing your story. My thoughts and prayers are with the three of you. Chelsea

  2. Hang in there Amy... miracles happen every day! Thinking of you all. Lx

  3. Toby here: Good to hear from you Amy. It's strange I find I always have tears reading this, even when it is good news. Our thoughts are with you and our fingers' crossed...
    All love T, J and the girls.

  4. Hi Amy, Good to hear from you. Reading it was very touching indeed... I wish all three of you the best, fingers crossed. Umar Sadat- Cambridge.

  5. Amy, Simon and you little king Arthur - wish you the best and a lot of strength.