My pregnancy with T was going well until we attended the 20 weeks anomaly scan. We were informed that he had a lesion growing on his left lung. Unfortunately, we would have to wait until his birth to understand the full picture. We were monitored closely for the remainder of the pregnancy, even taking a trip to Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) to check if the lesion had resulted in any heart damage.
T was born in March 2017, and much to my surprise, he came out crying. I wasn’t expecting him to be well enough to do that. And naively, I felt that hearing his cry, meant that all was well. T was assessed on the NICU and was admitted immediately as he required additional oxygen to breathe sufficiently. It was a day or so before the doctors could confirm T’s diagnosis. It transpired that what was diagnosed during my pregnancy, wasn’t completely accurate. Our son was born with two lesions on his left lung. The most concerning was a Pulmonary Sequestration, which required surgery to remove it. Due to how rare T’s condition was, the surgeons were referring us to Great Ormond Street Hospital.
We were transferred to GOSH when T was 8 days old. On his 19th day, he underwent his much needed surgery. He did brilliantly, and 3 days later, we were transferred back to our local hospital for his recovery. We spent the rest of the week, ensuring T could tolerate his milk feeds through a feeding tube. And as he got stronger, he and I were able to give breastfeeding a go.
T spent a total of 31 days on the NICU between our local hospital and GOSH. It was an incredibly stressful and somewhat traumatising time for our family. It has taken me a long time to accept what happened to T and the aftermath of his birth. Having had our second child, J, earlier this year, I feel like it’s the right time to share our experience. I have always wanted to turn our negative experience into a positive, but I was unsure of how I could go about doing so. Being able to offer support to other parents during their NICU stay or those who have been recently discharged, is what I am hoping to achieve. Becoming a NICU parent, no matter why your family is there, is a tough experience to endure.
If you met T, you would never know that he had been through such an ordeal as a baby. He is a fighting fit chatterbox who loves golf, swimming, superheroes and music. He is also the best big brother to J. Seeing them together, usually giggling, makes the additional anxiety of a second pregnancy totally worth it for me. These NICU babies are the toughest of cookies. Tougher than us parents at times, and I for one will always admire T for being my little soldier.