Tuesday 15/08/2006


I woke up on this day – quiet a sunny day with one thing on my mind, do a pregnancy test.  I had been feeling rough for a few days and a close friend of mine gave me a test the night before and told me to do one, looking back I had the symptoms, the sickness the tiredness but I was in denial and decided that hot dogs had given me food poisoning.  The test came back positive and this is where my journey of a rollercoaster of emotions started.  I was happy that I was pregnant but worried about my circumstances.  I lived at home with my parents and boyfriend, had a good job and a mountain of credit cards.   The doctor confirmed my test and then the appointments began.


August to December 2006


The midwife came out to see me and sent me for a scan at the local hospital to see how far pregnant I was.  I never had regular periods and was unable to tell myself.  The scan showed a little peanut and confirmed that I was a few weeks pregnant and the due date was set for 14/04/2007.  I got so caught up in what I could and could not eat, what I could and could not do that I put the sickness to the back of my head.  I must admit I lost a stone in weight in the first two months of my pregnancy due to the sickness.  I could never say that I bloomed in my pregnancy.


One night I woke up horrified that I had wet the bed stumbling about in the dark wondering how I change the sheets without waking up the other half was all I could think of.  I went to the bathroom and realized I had not wet myself I was dripping in blood.  I screamed for Ian and my mom and then strangely got in the shower whilst they were calling the hospital.  I was nervous and scared and switched on to auto pilot.  At the hospital they listened for a heartbeat but were unable to find one.  They tried to tell me gently that I may have lost the baby and called for the surgical team.  They then did a scan and showed the baby not moving.  Just as they were about to tell me about the next procedure for removing the baby a little arm popped up on the screen and started waving at.  I have never felt so relieved.  They kept me in for a few days to make sure the bleeding had stopped and then sent me home.


The morning sickness got more violent and the bleeds more frequent – each time I was told to go home after a few days and rest.  The last bleed I had was the week before Christmas where the consultant quiet frankly told me if the baby was to come early there is nothing they would do for it unless it was at least 28 weeks.  I didn’t really understand as I had never heard of premature birth so I ignored his comments. I did tearfully tell a friend though that I was not sure how much longer I could hold on to carrying the baby!


24 December 2006


I woke up this morning in a strange mood.  I had being arguing with Ian all week as he wanted to go out and enjoy the festivities and I just wanted him at my side all week, an action I could not explain.  I had been told that I had another water infection and that is what the pain in my tummy was.  I took action and drank a litre of water in a bid to flush the infection out and carried on with shopping and delivering presents.  I was a relatives house when I wet myself in there bathroom, I made a sharp exit from the house and went home.  I assumed I had drunk to much water.  The pain was getting worse but I still carried on with the task of delivering presents.  I even turned green on occasions due to the pain.  By half eleven I gave up and went to the hospital in search of pain killers for the infection.


I was being sick at this time and was told that there were a lot of sickness bugs going around at the time.  They did an internal and told me that I was one centimeter dilated and that this would close on its own, however as I was fussing and causing commotion they decided to keep me and send Ian home with a message of come back at nine and pick her up for Christmas day!



25 December 2006


I remember being on my own wondering what was going on, I kept going to the toilet the pain was unbearable.  On my last trip to the loo something slipped inside me and closed my legs tight together and waddled back to the bed to press the buzzer.  I remember lots of people appeared and all I could say was “something is coming”.  They put me on all fours and told me to push.  I was tearful and tired and just wanted Ian.  I kept shouting that it was too early (as the consultant’s words were rattling around my head) the midwife kept saying its ok its ok.  Then the baby came.  I was mortified I turned around to see my precious baby and all I could see was a food bag with a lot of goo in it!  I said what sex is it and was told to wait for an answer as they could not tell, but they would call the vicar, Ian and my mom whilst I was waiting.  Eventually they said it is a girl what are you naming her (I was relieved at this point as I had not thought of a single boys name) I tearfully said Amelia Jane which was then changed to Amelia Jayne and the midwife’s name was Jayne with a y.


It was an hour and a half before I got to see my little girl all swaddled up in an incubator – tubes and wires everywhere.  She was tiny and weighed 1 pound six ounces and was born at 24 weeks plus 2days.  I remember just looking at her and crying.  I was feeling so much it is hard to explain.  Within ten Minutes of seeing her she was christened Amelia Jayne Pollard. It was the most emotionally charged ten mins, I remember not been able to look at my little girl throughout the ceremony – I just kept thinking I cant, I can’t.  Everyone was in tears even the vicar! Ten mins after that she was taken twenty miles away to another hospital.  I desperately wanted to go with her but was not given the option as transport would be difficult on Christmas day.  My partner insisted that I stayed in for a few hours and I insisted that he and the family left to go have Christmas.  The hospital brought me Christmas dinner with a cracker.  It was the loneliest, confusing Christmas day I have ever had.  I was a new mom with no baby in sight, no family not even a bunch of flowers!  I called Ian and said come and take me home now!


I went straight to the new hospital on that night to see my baby; it was there the consultant took us to another room to explain what was going on.  Her lungs had not developed and a ventilator was helping her breath. She had a bleed on either side of her brain but we had to wait to see what happens.  He said that she had a small survival chance and be prepared for the worst.  It was then they told me to start expressing my milk as this would be a great help.  This is something I tried religiously to do for three weeks.  I got about out 20 mil of milk in that time and was advised to give up; I was just not going to get any out.


I remember looking at her tiny hands and feet and her little button nose and thinking why, why, why if only I had just held on to her she may have been bit stronger.  She was kicking and waving but looked so fragile.  All around were beeping monitors, signs saying wash your hands, nurses keeping a constant eye on everything.  I remember thinking is this what it is like to be a new mom – I can’t cuddle the incubator, can she hear me if I speak, can I ask questions!  I wanted to cry and scream but inside I knew I was a mom to a precious little girl and strength is now what is needed for the both of us.


26/12/2006 – 31/03/2006


As time went on fifty mile round trip from my home was an every day part of life.  Amelia had good days and bad days.  The bleeds disappeared but her lungs got worse.  It was at this point that Amelia got transferred to another hospital – I was told that this was a more local hospital and would be better for Amelia.  It turns out that it was exactly the same distance from our house but in the other direction.


Amelia’s heart had not closed the valve when she as born and we were now told that she would now need another operation in another hospital to have the valve ligated.  Amelia weighed less than a pound at this point as we were told that the operation would take place on a day trip to a hospital 30 miles away.  She was so poorly; she was given nitrous and put on an oscillating ventilator that made her little body shake.  We were told that this was her last chance and if she could get through this the operation would take place.


I prayed so hard – even though I am not that religious.  I broke down in the ward corridor but the nurses were brilliant and took me to a quiet room to collect my thoughts.  Amelia pulled through and went for the operation.  We were warned that on the day of the operation she would appear lifeless and be unable to move but not to worry.  I just stared at her for what seemed and age.  The surgical team came and went with forms and questions.  The one thing that stood out though was when the surgeon wrote on her form – reason for operation – “to help save life”.  I don’t really know how I made it though that day but somehow you just keep going.


Amelia returned back to hospital and now it was a waiting game.  She didn’t seem to improve at first and then the doctors again took me into a side room.  The one thing I did notice is that you start to dread the side rooms as this is where all the bad news takes place.  Amelia now needed steroids and the doctors needed my consent.  Again we were told that this was her last chance and if this didn’t work there was nothing more that could be done for her.  I felt like I was being punished for something but I carried on being strong although this task was getting harder and harder.  Luckily for us Amelia picked up and started her path to recovery.


This is where Ian and I could get more hands on, as the weight gained and she got stronger we could do her cares and talk to her, hold her hand, have visitors.  It was also in this time that I made friends with the other moms on the ward.  It was then that I realized that we were not doing this on our own there were other moms going through it too!  We soon became good friends going for coffees together on the ward comparing notes and treatment.  Spurring each other on.  It was the friendships that made it easier.


The first real cuddles were amazing and the first time she opened her eyes is a moment I will never forget.  I was there for nearly every needle and procedure – our finances got hit hard and our savings disappeared but it was worth every min.  Eventually Amelia got moved to another hospital which was 8 miles from my house.  It was really sad to leave the ward, the nurses and my friends.  We all brought little presents for each other and we left good luck cards on the cots for the parents to find in the morning.


The transfer went well.  She was now breathing by herself with o2 assistance and was out of the incubator in to a cot.  She had a few set backs but eventually we were given a date for her to come home! This was a great feeling.  We spent three weeks learning to check her colour, learning how to work the oxygen and change the canulars.  How to use the equipment and getting the oxygen installed into the house.



It has been a long journey with Amelia.  She is in now twenty months, still on the oxygen but growing well.   We see consultants, nurses, health visitors and community nurses that make these months easier and we are told that she is doing well.  On the 13/04/2008 we had a formal christening for her (a year after her actual due date).  It was a great day but Amelia got pneumonia the next day and had a major set back with her oxygen.  I look forward to the future with Amelia and say a big thank you to everyone involved in her care[1].


I know that it is not always a positive outcome and I know that it is really hard having a premature.  I have been lucky and I wish any one reading this my heartfelt congratulations or condolence.

[1] Stafford DGH Maternity ward, Birmingham Womens Neonatal, Stoke Neonatal, Stafford DGH scubu, Stafford community nurse team and childrens ward,

Hednesford street
surgery health visitor - Mary