Jake announced he planned to arrive one very snowy evening in December 2010. Mum thought she had picked up a stomach bug during the day, but by the time the evening came, she was experiencing pains and A&E beckoned. With a specialist thankfully already on site in the hospital, a quick examination revealed mum was in fact, by 7pm that evening, already 4-5cms dilated and we realised it was no longer a stomach bug.
We were quickly transferred to Loveridge Ward and in the hands of the wonderful staff there, and soon after we were soon joined by a Paediatrician, and Specialist ICU nurses from NICU (Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit), an acronym we had never really understood before, but would soon come to know very well. Despite the prospect of a speedy birth given how dilated mum was, Jake decided to wait until just after 1am the next morning to arrive.
He weighed 3lb 9oz, a good weight for one so early and was immediately taken by the ICU nurses and Paediatrician for resuscitation and checks, ensuring the lungs had the best chance. It was a surreal moment for mum and dad, emotions running extremely high as we waited for news of Jake and mum was being cared for by the midwife. The ICU nurses were so supportive and conveyed precisely what was going on with Jake, and encouraged us to see him.
Mum had to have an operation to remove the placenta, a common complication of premature birth, and was taken to theatre, at the same time Jake was taken to the NICU ward.
After one night on the general ward, mum was soon moved to a private room near NICU and there began our vigil for Jake. The staff were amazing in the ward, and encouraged us in as much or as little as we could cope with, keeping us fully updated. There were lots of wires, pipes and tubes, and machines around the incubator, all of which were explained to us so we knew each piece was vital to his recovery.
The first challenge was to get Jake feeding, and it was quite literally a mill of milk at a time expressed from mum at a time. After the first weekend, we were made aware Jake needed a specialist feed treatment, TPN, and thankfully this was administered intravenously in Guernsey. Jake’s weight had dropped by this point to around 2lb 6. After TPN, Jake then stabilised and improved steadily day by day. Jake required plenty light treatment for jaundice as well.
After some significant improvement following the TPN, he even left the incubator to a ‘hot cot’ for the first time. But then at two weeks, Jake had a significant relapse and was suspected of having a bowel dis-order and we were then heading to Southampton. A quick trip home to pack, but then by the time we got back to the hospital, we got the news that Jake’s 2nd x-ray was clear, and in consultation with Southampton he stayed in Guernsey for observation. They stopped milk feed for 2 days, and the days felt like weeks once again.
Jake fought back again, and this set back was soon behind us. From this point forwards it was all about patience, day by day he got stronger and the amount of milk he took increased. By January it was decided Jake needed a blood transfusion, a relatively normal procedure. It worked well, and you could literally see the colour return to his face and overall well being improved.
Soon after the transfusion, Jake came out of the incubator into a ‘hot cot’ again, and began the new fight of controlling his temperature outside of the incubator. He did, and by mid-January we left NICU and went into a room opposite where we could spend more time as a family.
By the end of January, some 8 weeks after Jake arrived, we were leaving the PEH and heading home.
Jake has continued to do very well, and at the time of writing, he is a 10 month old fighting fit boy showing no ill effects from his prematurity.
There are no words that can describe our appreciation of the staff in the Frossard ward, and Loveridge ward. The only advice I could ever offer anyone, is take it a day at a time because the world around you stops and there is only one focus, but with the medical facilities available, there is always a chance.