Monday, December 28, 2015

December 28 - Dear Nicholas Sparks (Guest Bloggers Angie and Anthony Lander)

Dear Mr. Sparks,

Jessica was born on the 3rd August 1998 (my actual due date) after a trouble free pregnancy, 2 normal scans and a very good labour which only lasted 9 hours. I was handed a totally perfect beautiful baby girl who weighed a healthy 8lbs 5ozs. Jessica is our first baby. For the first week at home she did very well all round her feeding seemed fine and she was gaining weight normally. Then Jessica started to projectile vomit half way through or after feeds. We told the midwife and described what Jessica did, we were told that it was fine and to try infacol which didn’t work and Jessica continued to vomit. When Jessica was about 4 weeks old she began to only take ½ fl oz of milk and was then so tired that she would need to sleep. She got worse and began to make a grunting noise when breathing out. I took her to a doctor's clinic at the hospital on the 29th August 1998 (I remember this date because it was my birthday).

Jessica was kept in overnight for observation and I stayed by her bedside trying to get her to feed. The next day she was sent home, we were told it was an upper respiratory tract infection (a cold). I felt like an over sensitive mother. However Jessica didn’t improve, so we went to see the G.P who told us that the hospital was right and it would take time to get better we were now having to try to feed Jessica every 2 hours. Jessica was due to be weighed the next day but I didn’t need the scales to tell me that she had lost a lot of weight, her clothes that fitted her a week before now fell off her. We then saw another G.P and he tried putting Jessica on soymilk. Jessica began to look and feel worse we were frightened to cuddle her too much because of the weight loss, her breathing had worsened and she had what looked like blood in her wet nappies. We were finally sent back to the hospital.

The doctors this time took a chest x-ray and could see bubble shapes on Jessica’s right lung. She began to be treated for pneumonia. I still wasn’t sure about this because Jessica didn’t have a high temperature. The doctor told us that it could be something that she was born with, I felt the guilt that I imagine most other mothers in this position would feel, it must be my fault (which of course I now know is false). Jessica was starting to feed on the 8th September when she choked and went blue, she needed some oxygen and the x-ray was repeated. This confirmed that Jessica had a congenital diaphragmatic hernia and she would need an operation to repair the hole. Jessica was transferred to the Birmingham children's hospital that night. Jessica’s consultant explained to us that Jessica’s liver had blocked the hole before birth and he told us about the fatality rate of children with this condition. He also told us that Jessica would also be in intensive care for a few days after the operation. Jessica’s operation took place on the 9th September 1998.This was the worse few hours of my life so far, I couldn’t bear to think of someone so tiny going through all that Jessica had to go through. I had very mixed emotions at this time. I cried because our baby had to have the operation but I was also relieved that we had finally found out what was wrong with her. The operation was a success and Jessica was so strong that she came straight back to the ward. One of the nurses called her the little miracle. Jessica went from strength to strength and was feeding again within a few days and was back home again a week after the operation.

Jessica has continued to do really well and even won a local bonny baby competition just before Christmas, which we are very proud of. We know that we are very lucky to have Jessica and that there are much worse cases of CDH and we hope all the other children do well too. Jessica brings me so much pleasure with her constant smiles and giggles that I don’t know what I ever did without her.

Written by Jessica's parents, Angie and Anthony Lander (Great Britain)

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