When you take baby home for the first time you don’t expect to end up in hospital pretty shortly after leaving. But that is exactly what happened to us when our newborn son, Jude, was 9 days old.
The previous week our eldest son was in with bronchiolitis so I knew the signs. Just after Jude was showing signs of having a cold. Two days into having the cold we woke up to find a cough developing. It wasn’t so serious sounding, but by lunchtime I had phoned 111 for advice. They were helpful and said they didn’t think it was anything to worry about, but my instinct told me if I needed to I should take him in.
At 6pm Jude wasn’t rousing from a nap. He wasn’t interested in feeding and with all attempts to wake him, including stripping his clothes off and a nappy change, he wasn’t very responsive and a little bit floppy. I went with my instincts and decided to call a cab and take him to our children’s Accident and Emergency Department.
When we got there we were seen pretty quickly and routine bloods were taken. The nurse was pretty sure it was bronchiolitis. I felt at ease and it was calm.
Within moments though everything changed. The doctor came back and a nurse whisked my baby away to go onto oxygen support immediately. High levels of carbon dioxide were found in his blood. Around him were 5 members of staff including a doctor and a consultant.
It was really really scary, but the nurse who originally saw us explained they work so quickly more staff means it helps to get baby well. She also assured me bringing him in in the morning might of meant we were discharged and sent home as his symptoms weren’t showing as bronchiolitis at that time and sounded like a simple cough and cold.
If they are poorly and not discharged, a very small baby is automatically admitted to hospital and put onto the High Dependency Unit (HDU) until they are well enough to breathe and feed by themselves. You won’t be assigned a particular doctor and this will sometimes lead to confusion.
Our first doctor told us we would be in for at least a week, and others offered hope of going home the following day. In fact we were in for 6 days and 5 nights. Our son was given oxygen and I was able to express and the nurses fed him through a tube from day 3. I felt good being able to do something, anything other than sit and watch him. Friends kept me company online to offer kind words or distraction. Everything they did helped in some way.
It turned out Jude had an infection in his left lung and antibiotics were given through a cannula in his hand.
I’m so glad my instinct was like an auto pilot – it guided me on what to do even when I felt the most hopeless. If your little one is ever poorly I assure you your instinct will tell you what is right too. You know your baby best.