…………The baby was placed into one in the corner. I felt sick again as I quickly sensed this was a high intensity environment. Each incubator had a small baby inside with tubes poking into their tiny little bodies. Other devices attached to them monitored heart rate, blood flow, oxygen saturation. There were alarms going off and monitors with digital readouts and different coloured lights. Our baby was hooked up to a battery of monitors and an oxygen mask placed over her face. Another nurse explained that she needed warming up and I saw her adjust the temperature controls on the side of the incubator. Then she asked my permission to take blood samples which I agreed to although I winced when they stabbed her little foot with a needle. I noticed as they left her in the plastic incubator that her breathing was deep and erratic. I asked what was the matter and a nurse said she was irritable. I wondered about that word for weeks after. What does irritable mean? I associated it with an adult who was bothered by some external problem such as the weather or an item on the news. How could a baby be irritable, she was barely able to breathe let alone consider any troubling environmental problems. I said I wanted to hold the baby. The nurse looked at me but my expression must have convinced her not to argue. Instinct was driving me now as well as knowledge about the birth process and the need for a baby to have a sense of security. Especially a Caesarean who had not experienced the force of vaginal muscles pushing her out into the World. So I was handed the baby after I put on a sterile gown and washed my hands.

More haste less speed


…Things were moving fast and soon in a room away from the operating theatre another nurse was ready to take charge of the baby. She quickly attempted to pass a naso-gastric tube down the baby’s mouth. More horror from me. How could they do this it looked barbaric. But the nurse explained that she would need this to take liquids and medicine if required and it had to be inserted now. But she was having difficulty and I could see the stress on her face as I watched like a hawk every move she made. After what seemed like ages she called another nurse over and this lady was a sister and very easily passed the tube down through her nose. She measured the length and explained that it had to be right in order for the infusions to reach her stomach properly. Once in place tape was applied next to the nose to ensure it stayed in place. Then we were off as the baby was placed inside a plastic box on wheels. We moved quickly through a corridor up a flight of stairs in a lift and then into what must have been a recovery ward and then brought up to where I could see Isobel laying. They wanted Isobel to see her but explained that she would have to go quickly to the Special Care Unit. I took the baby in my arms and held her up to Isobel’s face. She was barely conscious her eyes seemed out of focus. But she knew it was me and I said: Look Isobel we have a baby a baby girl!” Isobel smiled and later told me that on hearing the news we had a girl she felt her whole body warm through right to her toes. I explained we had to go the Special Care Unit and so we hurried along again into a lift and down to ground floor, along more corridors and into a large room with about six incubators.