Sarah & Colin’s Story (Isabella’s mum & dad)

Isabella was born 9 weeks early in November 2010, weighing 3lb 5oz.   I’d had a straight forward pregnancy up to that point but that morning I hadn’t felt her moving much and had a few twinges. I was monitored at antenatal clinic and everything showed both me and the baby were fine. Two hours later I was suddenly in agony and thought something was seriously wrong.  It didn’t occur to me that I could be in labour, yet half an hour later we were in the delivery suite being told I was 9 1/2 cm dilated. Isabella was born not long after.

Once she was born I was able to have a quick peep at her before she was whisked away to the neonatal unit. She was struggling to breathe so was put on c-pap to help her. I was able to go down to see her after a couple of hours but it was 3 days before I was allowed to hold her. She looked so tiny and fragile in the incubator with so many wires and tubes we could barely see her.  For the first couple of weeks I just felt numb, like this was happening to someone else not us.  It had all happened so quickly and I was in shock. I didn’t feel like I’d had a baby and didn’t feel like a real mum.

Isabella had her ups and downs, she was on c-pap for 5 days, had prolonged jaundice and had a bleed on her brain. The neonatal unit quickly became our second home and as we became more involved in her care (changing nappies, tube feeding etc) I began to feel more like her mum. We were finally able to take our girl home after 4 long weeks, weighing just 4lb 6oz.

I don’t think what happened really hit me until after we had come home and I felt quite isolated and ‘different’ to other new mums. Isabella had severe reflux, struggled to put on weight for a long time, and seemed to have a permanent chest infection for the first 2 years, she also had a few developmental delays. She had follow up brain scans and appointments with her consultant until she was 2 years old.

Isabella has just had her 6th birthday and is doing so well. She has no health concerns now and has had a massive growth spurt in the last 12 months, bringing her to average height for her age. She has come so far and I couldn’t be prouder of her.