I went 11 days overdue. After a very quick labour, up to 8cm dilated, everything was going smoothly… until my son’s heart rate was too high. I was transferred from the birthing centre to the hospital and a clip was placed on his head. They took a blood sample to check the acidity levels and this showed he was fine. After an episiotomy and some assistance turning him from a posterior position, he was born covered in meconium. He was rushed off to be resuscitated, but after 6 minutes he still wasn’t responding. The crash incubator came and took him straight down.
I saw him for the first time at 6 hours old. He had been given hypothermia therapy where he was placed on a blanket of ice cold water to lower his core body temp to 33.2 degrees Celsius He would stay like this for 72 hours. Throughout this time, he was having seizures due to the lack of oxygen he had encountered, and we were told to prepare for the worst. He stopped having fits and at day 4 was moved from ICU to HDU. He had an MRI scan which showed slight abnormalities to his brain. He was allowed to leave the hospital at 11 days old.
He is now nearly 6 months old, and after being told he had suffered the worst grade hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, he is proving all the doctors wrong and beating most milestones. He is so happy.
I think the NICU journey was worse for me because my baby was born at full term, and like most people thought only preemies went in there. I had no idea how terrifying it would be and how much it would affect me. I now cherish my son’s life a lot more than what I think I would have had he have just come home the day of his birth.