Jamie was born at 36 weeks. Although Jamie was a good weight at birth – 6lb 9oz, and his birth was relatively straightforward, his lungs were premature. At a few hours old, unable to breathe and in distress, Jamie was unexpectedly rushed to NNU at the Leicester Royal Infirmary. Initially the consultants believed he was just struggling due to his premature birth, so he spent the first two days on C-PAP, a non-intrusive oxygen mask that forces oxygen through the nose and keeps the air ways open. After no improvement and a rapid deterioration overnight, I was woken by the consultant very early on day three to tell me that Jamie’s lungs had collapsed in the early hours. They had fitted a chest drain; given him morphine so he was ‘resting’ and those dreaded words I was so anxious about, he had been intubated. Day three was a very dark and upsetting day. I had a four year old son waiting for me at home, who was being juggled backwards and forwards to grandparents’ houses but who was also desperate to see his new baby brother. My anxiety about him not seeing me, and knowing he would be very confused was horrendous. I couldn’t explain this to him; I didn’t even understand what was happening myself. I couldn’t face seeing my parents and I couldn’t see past the end of the day. I spoke to the consultant about speaking to a councillor as I suffer from bouts of anxiety, which are always brought on by an unexpected event. I was under observation because of this from the minute I walked into the birthing suite. I had been to a meeting with the hospital prior to Jamie’s birth to devise a plan so I could feel more in control second time around (my first son’s birth was confusing and I now know I went into shock after). Jamie’s consultant recommended I spoke to ADAPT and a lady called Rashmi and that more information could be found in the parent’s lounge if I was interested – somewhere I’d not ventured into as I daren’t leave Jamie’s side. Whilst taking a break, I left my husband and Jamie’s big brother Lewis in charge. I sat and read the notice board, took time to gather information and was excited to tell my husband that there was someone I could talk to. I came back to a very excited big brother who was holding an ADAPT bag, full of lovely things for the family. Rashmi had been round early that week and had sat down with Lewis to talk to him about Jamie. Talking to someone other than two worried parents was exactly what he needed to do. We had little gifts, a teddy bear for the boys, knitted bonding squares for mummy and baby and most importantly information about who I could talk to! On what was probably the most worrying and lonely day of my life, ADAPT were there to pick us up and to reassure us as a family that we didn’t have to do this alone.
Jamie was extremely lucky and against the odds made a speedy recovery, and we were able to take him home much quicker than expected. Once we were home and had settled into being a family of four I began to think more about what had happened and felt I needed to be around someone else who had experienced something similar. I needed to talk it out. I found the ADAPT bag and made contact with Lindsay.
I started going to the In Betweenies group a few months after Jamie was born and it has been a constant source of information, encouragement and support ever since. I attend with Jamie every Friday. He gets to see other children and most importantly I get to talk openly to other parents. The group is run by Lindsay, also a Mum to a son who was premature. The advice and knowledge that Lindsay gives us a group is immense, and I can say on behalf of all the families who attend, is absolutely vital in the early days, advice that is specific to premature babies! The group has grown, and we call ourselves the ADAPT family. I have made some very good friends in the last two years, all of who support each other through some very tough times. During lock down we have visited each other’s door steps, shared shopping deliveries, called each other and in the later months
arranged walks so that we can continue to talk. When people ask me about ADAPT and what the charity does, they often say ‘I wish there was something like that when mine were on the unit’.
ADAPT makes me feel like I am part of something very special, something that started as a trauma in my life has developed into something positive. I am extremely grateful for the time and effort they continue to invest in me and my son and I can truly say I am so very proud of being under the ADAPT umbrella!