Monday, 17 November 2014

Life Of A Premature Baby


A little while ago you may have read my post about pregnancy loses, false hope and still births etc. It was a pretty emotional post talking about personal experiences and raising awareness. You can read about it by clicking here if you want too. I did say how I would be back to raise some awareness for World Prematurity Day which is today November 17th!

For those who know me personally and reading this will be aware that my little munchkin moo was born 6 weeks prematurely. I have touched a bit on it in my pregnancy and birth story here. But today I think I shall go into it a bit more!

Meet Corey Lucas..

So his journey began when I became pregnant back in June 2010, I was pretty far gone into the first trimester and wasn't expecting to be pregnant due to at the time being on the contraception called Implant. I had taken many pregnancy tests, spent lots of money and all were negative. So I worried, I worried something was wrong causing my stomach problems. So I went to the nurse, who saw me all the time, she was great. She was checking my urine sample for sugar levels etc. Starting saying about how would I feel if I was pregnant, obviously I responded I would be happy just shocked. She said "thats good because you're pregnant". My best friend was with me at the time and I cried. I didn't know what to do. Turned out my due date was either the 25th or 29th January 2011. He arrived 6 weeks early, just 6 days before Christmas. Not only that but it was actually 1 day before his dad and I first ever anniversary so it was a great present for us all.

When I first met my midwife, she came to the house and it was a given that I was going to get the dreaded pre-eclampsia. I had a fair few of the signs to indicate it was a possibility including family history of the condition, high bmi, and being young. The midwife had said because of this I would get consultant care but I guess she never filled the paperwork as I didn't. I only had the usual 2 scans, but all the girls my friends at the time had around 5 because of their age - yet I was the same age. Just 17 years old.

You can probably imagine my frustration by these 2, I do feel that if I had proper care that was needed like those extra scans or consultant care that there was a possibility maybe Corey would have got to stay in my belly for longer. At 32 weeks pregnant, I started my maternity leave so I could enjoy Christmas etc and move into my first home. I felt this was enough time to relax etc and I had suspicions Corey would arrive early.

At 33 weeks, it was a Wednesday. I started to develop symptoms mainly the swelling of everywhere. I went into a local walk in clinic with my mum, I was tested for high blood pressure which was very high so I had a urine sample which indicated high protein.

I was sent to the Hospital Day Unit, where I was monitored and further tested. Told to stay the night for further care and monitoring. So something I forgot to mention was that the first appointment with my midwife, that little green book - I wrote on the front "no c-section unless an emergency". You see, I hadn't had an operation before, I chickened out of my tonsils being taken out a couple of days before. I was scared!

Over the next couple of days I was given tests, scans and painful steroid injections. These injections were needed to help develop Corey's vital organs quicker but my god it is the most painful injection possible and leaves your bruised like a peach.

That evening, my first ever stay over night in hospital (well from what I could remember anyways!) was so awful. I was left on my own after 9pm, which was then when the doctors decided to make their rounds. They told me I would have my boy within the next week but they wanted to keep him in there for as long as possible. You have no idea of the panic that started to happen, safe to say I cried for a very long time on the phone. I didn't know what to do.

The next few days were a bit touch and go, one day I would be supposedly having him that day and the next they wanted to send me home. Then Saturday came, first thing in the morning and I was being prepared for surgery, But that day wasn't the day, after all that waiting around - they just were too busy.

Sunday came, I was having visitors. I had Corey's dad and his mum there with me looking after me. They popped down for a fag whilst my cousin, who was my best friend and her partner were visiting. But I started to get ill. I was swelling a lot so much that my throat felt like it was closing. A nurse brushed it off and said it was just my glands. Didn't even look at me. But my cousins partner wasn't used to these situations, he panicked as he saw how ill I got. You didn't want to mess with him, he was 6 ft 5 and not the tiniest. He demanded a doctor see me. Who immediately said I had to be rushed to surgery. I quickly rang his dad, they ran up to me. I rang my mum and just as I was heading downstairs in the lift, she came just in time.

I was so scared, I was panicking, I didn't know what to expect. In that moment, I don't even know what I was thinking at the time. I wasn't prepared. I didn't think that the worst could be possible. I remember in the waiting room sat my mum, the mother in law and my dad.. Then Corey's dad was in the operation area with me. I went in at 6.30pm on Sunday 19th December 2010. At 6.45pm Corey was born. I didn't wake until around 7.10pm.

Frankly, when I woke I was in a daze. I had no clue what I was talking about. I had Corey's dad at my side supporting me and holding my hand. All I remember is talking jibber jabber. I had lost a lot of blood and I could feel it. I was lucky to have a really nice nurse whose name I can't even remember but so thankful for her. Finally, when someone told me how Corey was and that he was ok but just running tests. I was so relieved. I was shown this picture:

Everyone that was there had seen him except me. Eventually everyone had to go because of the visiting hours. Finally at 1am, I was taken up to the ward with a little detour to the NICU to see Corey. But in all honesty I was out of it, I remember crying my eyes out. I was the whisked off to the ward in the c-section room with the special beds. Everyone had their crying babies with them, it was torture. I didn't get any sleep, I was in pain and I was worried. The next day I managed to get up and was carted off to see Corey around mid day. For the first time, I got to see him properly. Hold his fingers and cuddle him. This isn't a picture of my first cuddle, it was the second at 2 days old:

I was explained a bit about Corey's conditions. I can't remember what they were called unless I looked out the paperwork. His x-rays were like bubbles, you couldn't see his organs. It was all bubbles which was from gas. Which possibly meant that he had a hole in his stomach as it might not of obviously developed quite enough. They decided to give him I think it was Gaviscon and Antibiotics to try and see if it could sort the problem. A couple of days later there was talks of operating on Christmas Day non the less. He was in Intensive care for roughly 11 days. However, I was very fortunate for the fact that I had a very strong healthy little boy who did fight it and it all went up from there.

Here is a few pictures of his time in NICU, which was Bedford Hospital.

After a few weeks - Christmas and New Year had been and gone. It was approaching the weekend before Corey was due to come home on I think the 10th January 2011. However, that weekend if things were not working in our favour. Our water and heating broke, no one would fix it until the Monday and then his dad write off the car. He was fine, I was very pleased though as never liked the car - it was an excuse to get a new one. We postponed Corey's leaving date until the Tuesday whilst we sorted things as I was not bringing him home with no water or heating. So the Monday night we are sorting out some bits, getting the bouncy chair and everything ready. But then the worst happened. My stomach started cramping. I had never felt pain so bad, it was horrific. I could not move at all or breathe. It could have been my body thinking I was going into labour, it felt like possible contractions. Although, since then I have had my gallbladder removed so it may have been that too. I was rushed to Hospital and treated. I wasn't admitted until at least midnight.

The next day he still got to come home with me, it was a scary thought. It really was but it was amazing and he was still so teeny weeny. This is when Corey's dad took his paternity leave as we felt it was a more appropriate time for me to need to help as I will still recovering from my painful c-section. Here he is waiting to leave the hospital:

Before he came home, we were provided with a lot of help from the NICU they were great. They even came to our house to give us first aid training how to deal with choking etc.

The day came where Corey's dad had to go back to work. I was horrified at the thought of being on my own every day, I was scared something would go wrong. Corey had a couple of sniffles, we decided to get it checked out at the doctors but were sent to their children's day unit for a proper assessment due to his prematurity. Best to be safe and get it checked out they said. So off we went again to the Hospital dreading the worst. But they brushed it off as if nothing was really wrong. I didn't believe them. I had planned to go back to the doctor the next day.

However, Corey took a turn for the worst that evening. I remember having dinner on my own with Corey whilst his dad was at his brother's. I thought Corey was looking a bit blue around the lips but I warmed him. Then it was bath time whilst his dad was working away on the computer. I decided to sit there and cuddle Corey on the bed, chatting away discussing how our days had been etc. When I started to notice that if my arm moved, Corey would get this really sharp red blood mark on his forehead as if it was a sudden blood rush. My heart stopped because I thought he may have a brain tumor or something. I then noticed Corey was not breathing. I panicked, I went into a complete shock. We only lived literally a 2 minute drive from the hospital so we drove as it would of been much faster.

As soon as we arrived and we said he wasn't breathing we were seen immediately by a nurse in A&E, we sat down and put Corey on the table in his car seat. She stood up, whisked him away and literally did not return for like 10 minutes. The worst 10 minutes of our life. She eventually came back, we were taken to see Corey surrounded by doctors and nurses every where. A&E had to be put on a stand still. By this time, both of Corey's nannies were in the waiting room, having to listen to people moan about the longer wait due to a severely ill little baby. I went out at one point to see my mum to let them know what was happening. I walked into the waiting room, but I saw mum and I froze. I stood there and I cried for a good 5/10 minutes before I could even begin to explain what was actually happening. She thought the worst had happened. I eventually explained the following..

During the next few hours - Corey was given tests, x-rays and all sorts. There was talks of him being transferred to Great Ormand Street Hospital but the journey would have been risky as Corey would of had to be put to sleep. But it was decided Corey would be put on a CPAP machine and looked after in the hospital we were at in Intensive Care.

I remember later that night when we were put in a waiting room whilst he was transferred to the ward - I was handed his baby grows which were all cut and it just broke my heart. We slept by his side the whole night. Here he is the next morning on a CPAP machine:

He luckily made a fairly quick recovery after this, we were home on the Friday. The scariest week ever possible or imaginable. I remember this all so vividly - it is quite a scary thought, at first I chose to forget that moment because even to this day as soon as I think about it, I cry and cry. I never want to have to relive that. It is a memory I do not want. I honestly couldn't tell you what part was worse the premature birth or that moment I thought he was gone.

All babies are at risk for this but being premature because they are smaller and a bit more fragile made him more prone which is why somehow he caught this horrible bug that almost ended his life.

I am so beyond lucky and thankful that Corey has only really had the old cold and cough since with no serious life health problems. He was a little behind on walking as he didn't take his first steps until he was 18 months. I am not saying there may not be aspects were he will be a little behind in the future, he may need glasses, he may not do as well academically - who knows but then again every child is different. He may be prone to having certain illnesses later on in life life heart problems. But there is no indication of that at the moment.

We are now fast approaching Corey's 4th birthday next month and I am very proud to say he is doing so well, growing up into a cheeky monkey and as of January will be in full-time school. My baby is no longer a baby!

So today is World Prematurity Day and I ask you to really think about the causes of being premature not only to the baby but the family, the mother and the father. It isn't easy, being a parent isn't easy. Nothing worse than seeing a baby poorly, having that some what doubt it could all be over. It is always hard whether it is your baby or another. I am so thankful for the Hospital and the care they provided for us as a family and all the treatment they gave Corey. They done really well and I was lucky that Corey is now as healthy as he is. Here are a couple of charities who can help maybe find a prevention or provide support for when the dreaded comes - SandsTommy's and Bliss. If you can spare some change to help donate or do even more, it will all help.

P.S sorry for this being the longest post, ever. Thankyou if you managed to read it all.

Love, Gemma xo


  1. I'll have a proper read latter to take it all in but it looked so scary up to where I go to! Bet his little beautiful face takes away any of the negative memories tho xxx

  2. How very scary those early days must have been for you - so glad that he is now doing well, what a little fighter he is.

  3. I'm so glad he's now doing so well. How awful it must of been for you, I can't imagine what you went through x

  4. What a little fighter you have! You must have been terrified when he stopped breathing, I can't even begin to imagine what I would do if that happened to either of my children. I hope Corey has a fab time at school in January xx

  5. It sounds like you coped amazingly... and at just 17! Go you! He's a gorgeous boy xxxx

  6. My goodness what an ordeal that must have all been so scary, but look at your boy now how is grown he is gorgeous and such a credit to you xx #mummymonday

  7. So scary for you, but turned out well in the end. He's a lovely looking little boy, and very close in age to mine (his birthday was a week or so after Corey's).
    I think it's so important for parents who've had premature babies to share their stories because you never know about the support that these units and parents need unless it's out there in the public. Good for you for sharing your story.



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