Sunday, 18 May 2014


We had our beautiful baby, Isaac in the evening of Monday 5th May, and by the morning of Wednesday 7th May, he was throwing up bile and had a hugely distended tummy. Terrified, we gave Grace one last cuddle with him, before rushing him to Poole Hospital.

The Children's Ward at Poole were fairly sure that he had a blockage in his bowel, and were worried about it perforating, so they blue-lighted him to Southampton. 

In the ambulance "pod"
He was transfered directly to Pediatric Intensive Care, where he was hooked up to lots of monitors and we were told we couldn't touch or hold him. We ignored them. 

He had to have an X-ray to try to discover what was causing the blockage in his bowel.

Later, the registrar performed a procedure to clear the blockage, and gave him the first of his "bowel washouts". The next day he was transfered (again by ambulance!) to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, over the road at the Princess Anne Hospital. 

By this stage, the doctors were suggesting possible causes for the blockage - it could be "just one of those things", it could potentially be cystic fibrosis or it could be Hirschsprung's Disease; a genetic disorder where some of the nerve cells in the bowel fail to grow, making it impossible to pass bowel movements. Bloods were taken to test for Cystic Fibrosis, and a bowel biopsy scheduled to test for Hirschsprung's. Unfortunately, Isaac's clotting factors were too poor to biopsy on the Friday, which was the original plan, so we had to wait for Monday. In the meantime, we were to be taught to do the bowel washouts, in order for us to be able to return home with Isaac. We watched every procedure Isaac went through, but the nursing staff weren't confident to teach us to do the washouts, so we had to wait for the surgical nurse manager to be available. This put our leaving date back too, as Isaac wasn't able to have a washout for 24 hrs after his procedure - and we both had to complete a supervised one before we could leave. We were very lucky, though, that the weekend consultant told us that we could take Isaac over the road to the main hospital, so we weren't completely stuck on NICU, and were able to get a cup of tea!

It was very bleak being at the hospital with the girls being cared for by friends and relatives, but as well as regular visits, we had the most amazing gifts from family, but also from friends and virtual strangers. Emma N came over on the very first night with wonderful practical gifts of food, amazingly soft cloth sanitary pads for me,  chemical-free disposable nappies for Isaac (they needed to monitor his urine output) and warm clothes. She also did loads of washing for us and visited most days - and busted me out towards the end of our stay to visit a friend who lived close to the hospital, so that I could sit and enjoy the sunshine in their garden with my new baby! Abbie, who we know vaguely through Emma, brought us so much wholesome food that we took up most of the communal fridge! Our Home Ed community rallied round, providing lots of fun childcare for the girls, and the most amazing packages both for us and the girls - and a money collection I know they could ill-afford, which meant that we were able to eat well and transport the girls up and down to Southampton as we needed to. Becky kept our house clean and tidy, found all the extras we needed, ferried the girls to various groups and houses and was generally on call whenever we needed her, and Emma F came back from a trip to Cambridge so that the girls could stay over at her house, which meant that I could put them to bed twice during our week long stay. She also kept me company for the two long evenings that Luke went home to be with the girls. 

Our families were equally amazing, providing childcare (even overnight) at the drop of a hat, and money to help us out when we most needed it. We are a very, very lucky family.

Receiving the parcels and cards from our
Home Ed Community

Emma keeping me company

Isaac and Stickman
We are currently on "Home Leave", which means that Isaac still has a cot open for him at the hospital - he hasn't been discharged, but that the staff are confident that he is currently well enough (and we are sufficiently capable of doing his washouts) to be at home. We finally left the hospital on Wednesday morning - a full week after we went in.

Back together again

So, that's the bare bones of what happened. I will add thoughts and further details in later posts, but this one is quite long enough!

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