Becky and Greg Bolton - Brody

I was 32 weeks pregnant when my feet were so swollen that I could barely move them, I rang the hospital and they asked me to pop in for a check-up the same day. I went up there with my mum as I told my partner Greg not to worry, it’s just a check-up.

After my blood pressure was taken and my urine sample was checked, I was told I am unable to go home as I have suspected preeclampsia. I was instantly transferred to delivery. I remember being so scared and worried I didn’t know what to think, Greg came straight up to see me, I didn’t really understand what this all meant. Midwifes came in and took bloods and advised that I need steroid injections in case my baby needs delivering, this would strengthen his lungs. By this point I was a complete mess and so scared for our baby.

The same day I was diagnosed with preeclampsia and not allowed to go home, I was monitored every 3 hours and fitted with a cannula in case surgery was needed. I was also transferred to the maternity ward, I must say that every midwife and nurse in there was amazing and so lovely.

My blood pressure was extremely erratic and I was transferred to delivery 3 times over the course of 7 days with the possibility of having a caesarean. The last time it spiked that was it! I was 33+6 and the consultant didn’t want to wait any longer in case it caused more complications to me or baby.

I was taken into delivery on the Friday 24th March and put on a magnesium sulphate drip and was prepped to go into theatre the next morning.

A lovely paediatric consultant from SCBU came in and spoke to me and Greg. She explained that as he was this early he would need to be in special care for some time, she explained there would be a number of people in theatre but not to worry. To be honest it was all a blur to me and very overwhelming. All I can remember thinking is, is our baby going to be ok? Will I get to see him? Will I get to hold him and will he be ok without us?

The morning arrived and I was taken down for the caesarean, which is the most surreal experience and one I won’t forget. Within 30 minutes our beautiful little boy started crying but then it stopped. My partner explained afterwards that he stopped breathing and had to be resuscitated and put straight onto a ventilator. I remember asking him what was happening over and over, I could see this white look on his face and I knew something wasn’t right, but he stayed calm and really supported me in that moment, without him there I don’t know what I would have done. Brody was born on 25th March weighing 4lb4.

I then got to see our beautiful little boy, he was put by my head so I could hold him and touch him, and I instantly felt overwhelmed with unconditional love and happiness. I remember seeing his little tiny blue hat and a little mask on his face, he was so small and wrinkly, but he was so loved already. The smiles on our faces at that exact moment made everything forgotten.

He was then taken into special care and put in his incubator. He was also put on an antibiotic drip in his little hand. I was taken back to the delivery ward, I wanted to have him back so much. It was extremely hard seeing and touching him for all of a few seconds to then not have him with me. I was taken down later that evening in my bed so I could see him, I remember seeing his tiny body and all these wires, tubes and beeping noises, I was extremely scared, emotional and very overwhelmed. Greg was my absolute soldier in these moments, he was so supportive and positive but I could see in his eyes he was just as scared as I was.

The nurses in SCBU where so supporting and explained everything to us, they told us what everything did for him. From the moment I was able to get out of my bed I was there from morning to night every day and even during the night as I was in hospital for 6 days after delivery.  Everyone in SCBU was helpful and helped us learn new things. We got to change his bum and hold him, I will never forget the first time he was allowed out of the incubator and put on me, inside my nightie, that moment is cherished forever. Everyone in SCBU never made us feel uneasy and I knew he was in the best place, the care he got and the help and support we got was lovely and much needed.

Brody was only on the ventilator for 2 days which was fantastic, he quickly came off everything and transferred over to the nursery within 5 days. Our little fighter sure was, exactly that. Once in the nursery the nurses let us do everything, they showed us how to bath him, tube feed him and also teach him how to feed from me. They made us feel comfortable and welcoming and really supported me and Greg with helping his development and growing.

We were eventually allowed our night over with the hopes of taking our baby home the next day providing he put on weight. 2 weeks our little boy was in SCBU and he was finally ready and able to come home. That was the happiest moment, getting to put our little boy in our car and take him home with us.

Without the help and support from everyone at GWH in SCBU and on the maternity ward, we would not have got through that difficult scary time. We are extremely grateful to everyone and the care they provide to all the little babies that need love and support 24 hours a day.

Brody is now 8 months old and you wouldn’t tell he was premature. He now weighs in at a whopping 19lbs, our little bundle of joy has brought so many happy memories already and the love we have for him is unconditional. He laughs, he smiles, he wriggles around everywhere and he certainly loves his food. Without SCBU none of this may not have been possible and for that we are truly grateful.