Maisie's story

The first hospital visit, Part One

It is hard looking back to the last few days before Maisie was admitted to hospital. Looking at photos and videos you can really see her struggling and looking quite sick. But she’d also pick herself up, look calm and chilled out – so she’d always trick us, and all the professionals!

For a few days I had worried a little about her breathing, she breathed very fast sometimes, but then it would calm down. She’d also have boughts of seeming very tired and sleeping alot – but she was a newborn baby, they normally sleep alot! We’d only known her a few days, so I wasn’t sure what was and wasn’t normal for her. Babies are always such a terrifying minefield.

Anyway, it was a Monday morning, and we were all in the allotment doing some digging: me, Ben and Lowen, with Maisie asleep in her moses basket. Lowen and Ben go to the garage to get some tools, when they bump into the health visitor, who I completely forgot was coming. We had the appointment, and the health visitor noticed her fast breathing too, asking us to get it checked out in the next couple of days. Maisie also failed the first of her hearing tests – although I just put that down to Lowen making a racket during the test.

Maisie wasn’t yet registered at the doctor’s surgery yet, so that lunchtime Maisie and I went to our local surgery to fill out her forms and luckily were given an appointment for 7pm that evening. I didn’t really think anything of it, and can’t even remember how we spent the rest of the afternoon.

At the doctor’s that evening, we saw a lovely female doctor who had treated Lowen previously for croup. She tried not to worry me, but she did seem quite concerned that her breathing was over 80 breaths a minute (it should be under 60 for a baby), and she looked quite pale and sleepy. She gave me the option of going to hospital that evening or in the morning (as we probably wouldn’t get results until the next day). I knew I wouldn’t sleep, so decided to go in that night.

Maisie and I drove via our house, stopping off for an overnight bag, to say goodnight to Lowen and to grab some snacks for me. My labour bag still wasn’t unpacked yet, so I just shoved some extra stuff in there, and Ben packed me some pizza. Ben vaguely mentioned heart issues, but I brushed them off thinking more likely an infection, maybe from the meconium Maisie took in during birth. I gave Lowen a big kiss and a hug, unaware that I wasn’t going to see him again for almost a week (I hadn’t ever been apart from him for more than two days, and I already worried he felt pushed out by his sister).

It was a beautiful evening as I drove to the hospital. Maisie was in a pink and purple romper suit and wrapped loosely in a yellow knitted blanket, as it was a hot June day, and the sun was still high in the sky. I managed to park near the paediatric ward, and we made our way up in the lift to level 5 for the first time of many times.

We were admitted and shown to a room with a cot and a hard plastic chair. Maisie looked so tiny in that huge cot. She had her first set of observations taken and other than the breathing issues, they were quite happy with her, so I relaxed a little and started to feel like a bit of a time waster.

I ate my dinner, and gave Maisie a feed, and tried to settle in to our little room.

Ben’s parents came up to look after Lowen, so Ben could come to see Maisie and I in the hospital. It was lovely to see him. He hung around for a couple of hours, but the doctors were very busy, so Ben went home again before they saw us.

Eventually around 11pm, two doctors came to see us and did a thorough examination. They weren’t too concerned but suspected an infection. I breathed a sigh of relief – I can deal with that, Lowen had an infection. It was just some IV antibiotics and a few days in hospital. I was a bit frustrated, as hospitals are so dull, but we could do that, easily.

So began a long long first night on Polkerris paediatric ward…

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