When I started bleeding at work at 25 weeks pregnant, mine and my husband’s world was turned upside down. Two days later on 12th December 2013, Jack Lewis Bragg was born by emergency caesarean section weighing just 1lb 15ozs. Jack had to be transferred from Warwick Hospital to Wolverhampton New Cross where there was a NICU bed available for him, but we had to stay behind until the following day when I was transferred to the maternity ward. We only got to see Jack for a few minutes when they bought him up in the transport incubator, looking back I probably appeared quite aloof and distant to the transport team, but I don’t think I had quite realised the enormity of what had just happened. Little by little it started to sink in although I think I only slept that night because of the effects of the general anaesthetic.
Arriving at New Cross and seeing Jack for the first time, the first thing I did was laugh – not because the situation was funny, but because our son had the biggest hands and feet I had seen! It took time to take it all in – the ventilator, the wires, the needles in my sons tiny body. A couple of days later we were taken in to a side room to be told that Jack had suffered a brain haemorrhage, the next day it was a pneumothorax and then on day 7 a perforated intestine requiring surgery at Birmingham Children’s Hospital. I remember crying for hours whilst the transport team painstakingly moved him in to yet another transport incubator.
36 hours later we were on our way to Birmingham Women’s Hospital, Jack’s operation had been successful although he now had a stoma in order to give his bowel time to grow and develop. We spent the next few days leading up to Christmas at his bedside just watching the monitors and getting used to looking after our son through the holes in his incubator. There were good days and bad days, but we slowly got used to the hospital, the nurses and doctors and understanding the many problems that Jack was fighting. We were fortunate enough to be able to have accommodation within the hospital which meant we could get some rest but still only be minutes away if anything happened.
On Boxing Day I finally got to hold Jack for the first time, two weeks after he was born. It was an amazing feeling but equally scary, he managed to extubate himself towards the end of our cuddle! Though this wasn’t a bad thing in the end as the doctors realised that actually he coped really well and decided to try him on BiPAP and CPAP.