Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Blissful Ignorance (Early Days #3)

Get It Down; 31 for 21

Once I had got over the initial shock of giving birth in such a dramatic way, and once the milk had 'come in', I quickly settled into having a new baby at home. The first 6 or 7 weeks were dreamy, and I remember feeling elated, full of joy and purpose, and soooo in love with my Thomas!

He was the cuddliest baby, and he spent hours 'snuggled' into me, his little floppy body tucked into a ball fitting neatly onto my tummy. It was like being pregnant, except it was much, much nicer...!!

He fed well although he did tend to choke very easily, and used to come up for air quite a lot more than Sam had. He was a 'well baby', according to the health visitor. He slept all the time, and I remember thinking what a good baby he was. At night time however, he 'squeaked' in his sleep and so he ended up on the landing just outside our bedroom door so that we could get some sleep!

Little did I know that we could have lost him at any time. The squeaking wasn't just a 'quirk'; it was because he was struggling to breathe. The reason he slept pretty much 22 hours out of 24 was that he was exhausted from the breathing and the feeding. Little did I know that in those weeks, he was in heart failure much of the time... I didn't know because no-one told me there was anything different about this baby!

After delivery, the useless midwife which had been 'supporting' me in labour washed him and put him on me to feed, roughly forcing my nipple into his mouth. She had obviously missed out on the part of her training which taught her to look out for any unusual features in a newborn... Because she was just desperate to get home, and so really didn't take a second glance at my baby. Never mind the slightly upwards-slanting eyes, the small, lower-set ears; the flat nasal bridge, the curved little fingers, the sandal-gap between his first 2 toes... Never mind his tiny little mouth, cute button nose, yellow tint and general floppiness.

But it wasn't just that one midwife. Oh no it didn't stop there! Absolutely no-one saw it; from junior health-care assistants to consultant paediatricians, whoever routinely happened to come into contact with Thomas didn't stop and look a little more closely.

Can you tell I am still reeling? Still angry?! Still bemused by the fact we were so let down by the maternity department after Tom's birth.


Don't they say 'ignorance is bliss'?? And those first weeks were just that: bliss. It felt like we were a proper family, and that our second son was going to be a piece of cake!

Little did I know that things were about to change... And that our entire world was about to get turned upside down.


  1. Rach, thanks so much for sharing this, I can tell that you are still feeling the anger and justifiably so. Praise God that He sustained Thomas and kept Him alive while he was struggling to breathe. When I was in hospital, I certainly felt that, while a lot of midwives are wonderful (and struggling daily with being understaffed and overworked), for some it's all a little too routine and they underestimate how crucial proper care is for new mothers.

  2. Oh my goodness, how scary looking back now to think your little one was struggling so to just keep breathing! And how sad that for so long no medical professional even caught it. What an amazing story - Tom is sure a fighter and God is sure our Protector!

  3. Wow, that seems completely crazy and neglectful! I'd be reeling for a while probably too! Glad the story had a happy ending. My goodness... I'd have lost my mind with worry if I'd not had an explanation for why Braska was coughing and hacking and turning blue at times in those 3 pre-surgery months.

  4. Wow- how ridiculous is that? I would be sooo mad. I tend to expect things like that from the medical establishment but not from midwives!


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