On the evening of Tuesday the 13th November Helen and I headed to harrogate hospital expecting a normal labour and the safe arrival of our second child.
Soon after arriving it was evident that all was not well with our baby as the heart rate was very low. Very quickly the mood in the room changed as more and more doctors and nursers became involved and the decision was quickly made to take Helen for an emergency cesarian. The hospital benchmark from decision to birth is 30 minutes, Florence was delivered in 16! A minute later and things could have been very different.
When Florence was born she was not breathing, there was no heart beat and her body was floppy with no sign of life. Incredibly, the team then spent an agonising 30 minutes trying to resuscitate her when many would have given up hope minutes earlier. Eventually her little heart started beating and she was able to take the occasional gasp of air. Without knowing how long she was without air for the outlook was very bad as permanent major organ damage was highly likely.
In this scenario the team recognised the dangers and immediately began ‘cooling’ Florence to 33.5 degrees to try and limit any further damage. After around 8 hours of stabilising she was then transferred to the specialist baby intensive care unit at Leeds. Here she arguably was looked after by the best doctors in the country where the cooling process was continued and she was nurtured one on one 24 hours a day for two weeks. After lots of treatments including a blood transfusion and nitrous oxide we were able to bring home a normal healthy baby. Whilst Florence’s development will be closely monitored as she grows up, to be where we are today was completely unimaginable in the hours and days after she was born. This is largely down to the decisiveness, speed and expertise of the team at Harrogate hospital.
You may be surprised to know that the majority of the equipment they used to save Florence’s life wasn’t government funded, it was donated or paid for by fundraisers such as this. Driving home with Florence in the back of the car I said to Helen that I feel like we’ve left s restaurant without paying. We feel very lucky to have the NHS.
I know at this time of year money can be tight but all we are asking is for our friends and family to consider donating whatever they can spare at this time of year to help the hospital invest in more equipment. If you are family who were going to buy us a gift for Christmas, please donate instead,
Helen and I feel extremely lucky to have Florence home when things could have been very different. Raising money will help them invest in better equipment to help them save more lives in the future. Whether you have one less beer this Christmas or if you can afford something more, it will all help.
Thank you for reading X