A Day in the Life of Emily 4 - The Intensive Care Unit
After the emergency Caesarean
All the anxious months of waiting for a baby to arrive in normal circumstances are hard enough. For my third pregnancy there were so many trips to the hospital for extra tests, that I now felt the place was becoming my second home. Waking up after the emergency caesarean and being wheeled to my own room, right next to the nurses’ station, I wondered if I would ever go home again.
Thanks to the wonders of modern drugs, my pain was under control and my doziness had worn off, a few hours later. I was desperate to see my little girl.
“When can I see her? Is she is okay?” I must have asked this question a dozen times to any nurse who came into the room. Finally, I was allowed to be wheeled in a chair to the intensive care unit, or ICU as everyone called it. My baby had been taken there within minutes of being born. Her father had gone with her and was allowed to view what was happening through a window outside the room. Now, he was pushing the wheelchair and me, toward our daughter.
A Tiny Babe
“She’s very tiny and has lots of tubes going in and out.” Willy told me on the way to the ICU. “But they really know their stuff.” He placed a hand on my shoulder and I felt instantly relieved. “She’ll be okay.” I took some deep breaths in readiness for my first encounter with my daughter.
At the end of this journey, I would come face to face with my baby. The little girl I had nurtured in my womb for almost nine months, had survived long enough to be born, against all odds. Would I know, just from looking at her that there was something wrong? Would she show the signs of a baby with chromosomal abnormalities? Would I love her on sight? How would I know she was my baby?
Willy turned the wheelchair and manoeuvred me through a doorway. And, there she was. This was my darling little girl. How could I not know? I knew her instantly, instinctively. It was as if the umbilical cord that had been cut at birth had miraculously reappeared, intact. I felt the connection to her, as if she were still a part of me.
The Miracle of Life
For a moment, there are no cords or tubes. Only a baby, my baby, and she is perfect. Beautiful and perfect. I take in every inch of her. She is lying on her back with her eyes closed. Her little chest is rising and falling, affirming she is alive, but I know this anyway. Suddenly my senses are alert to the soft beep of the machine that tells the nurse, standing on the other side of the crib, that all is well. Of course, it is the heart monitor that lets everyone else know, she is alive.
“To monitor her heart…the clip on her toes is to measure her oxygen levels.” The nurse answers my unspoken questions as if she can read my mind. “She’s doing really well.” I am mesmerised.
A tiny, tiny babe lies in front of me. My daughter. She has a see-through, plastic dome over her face and the top half of her body so I can't hold her hand as I long to do. But I can stroke her little leg, above the knee. She is so small but so perfect. Ten fingers, ten toes, everything about her, looks fine. Her skin is pink with that healthy, newborn baby look. Yes, she is little, so little, but so perfect. How can this be?
Willy stands behind me with one hand on my shoulder. I know he is there and I feel his anguish. But there is a sense of calm that is so hard to describe. We have spent many months not knowing the outcome of this pregnancy, yet here, in front of us, is the miracle of life. Not perfect and not without its traumas, but this is a miracle. She is a miracle.
- A Day in the Life of Emily 1 - The Pregnancy
Follow the pregnancy of a woman as she unfolds the dilemnas, risks and uncertainties of being pregnant in her forties. From first trimester to final trimester she is faced with the possibilites of having a baby born with chromosome abnormalities.
- A Day in the Life of Emily 2 - Choices - Abortion or the Gift of Life
The eleven week ultrasound can give an indication of any chromosomal abnormalities in the foetus. If the test is positive a woman may be faced with the choice of terminating the pregnancy. One mother shares her turmoil on being given this news.
- A Day in the Life of Emily 3 - The Birth Day - Natural Delivery or Caesarean
After having given birth by way of natural delivery on two previous occasions, the thought of a Caesarean delivery was not only alien to me but abhorrent. But with my third pregnancy this was to be considered,...
- A Day in the Life of Emily 4 - The Intensive Care Unit
The Intensive Care Unit of any hospital is at once frightening and a place where miracles happen. Our baby was born against the odds but through the dedication of the staff of the neo-natal intensive care she had a good chance of survival.
- A Day in the Life of Emily 5 - The Special Care Nursery and Babies with Special Needs
It can be heartwrenching for any parent having to visit their newborn baby in the Special Care Nursery but the staff make the experience less frightening. Their expertise is in looking after babies with special needs.
- A Day in the Life of Emily 6 - The Diagnosis, not Down Syndrome
Following a pregnancy fraught with every possibility of having a baby born with a chromosomal abnormality, the diagnosis has finally arrived. The good news; our baby does not have down Syndrome – the bad news is something much worse. Edwards Syndrome
© 2010 Karen Wilton