Sarah & Steve’s Story (Heidi’s mum & dad)

Our little girl, Heidi, was born on Mothers’ Day 2015 at Tameside, after a very straight forward pregnancy and labour (even though I had to be induced as I went 11 days over). However, something went wrong during the hour after Heidi was born and she collapsed while she was skin to skin.
Things happened in a blur, and it was like I was watching a film of someone else, but it was happening to us. Heidi had to be resuscitated, and was whisked up to NICU. We were left in shock – no idea what was going on and whether she was ok.

I remember the consultant coming in to give us an update, telling us that Heidi had suffered a lack of oxygen to the brain (which we now know as hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, HIE for short) and was being transferred to Oldham NICU for cooling treatment. We had a few minutes to see her before transport arrived. Leaving her was so difficult, and whilst part of me couldn’t get to Oldham quick enough, another part of me was terrified of what it would be like there and what would be waiting for us.

The nurses at Oldham were amazing. They took such good care of Heidi, and of us; from making arrangement for us to stay in the parent room, to encouraging me to express so that Heidi could be fed my milk via a tube.  They were with us every step of the way.  We stayed there for a couple of weeks, before being transferred back to NICU at Tameside, and eventually the Children’s Unit before coming home, 8 weeks after she was born.

The injury to Heidi’s brain was severe – she now has cerebral palsy, epilepsy, is fully tube fed, has a tracheostomy, and severe developmental delays. She is also pretty awesome! We never imagined that we would be on a journey like this, and we have found ourselves in a whole new world of “special needs”, but it’s not such a bad place. We have made new friends, learned so much, and above all, realized that there is always hope.

I often think of parents who may just be starting out on their own journey, and how daunting it must seem. It’s true when they say that it’s like being on a rollercoaster – there are some big drops, but also so amazing highs.