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Amy at two weeks

We were told at our 12 weeks scan that our unborn baby may have a condition called Gastroschisis. We were referred to Birmingham Women's Hospital in the West Midlands where they confirmed Gastroschisis. We then had regular 4 weekly growth scans (everything is picked up through these scans which can add to the worry, but necessary), at around 20 weeks there was a cist on our baby's brain, because of the Gastroschisis they offered us an amniocentesis which we had and the results were clear.

A cist can appear on any unborn baby so the doctors assured us there was nothing to worry about and it did disappear nearer her due date. My care was transferred to Birmingham at 36 weeks. My scans were then every two weeks, we also made an appointment to see the delivery suite, the ward where our baby would be transferred to and the special care unit. I was told that I could deliver naturally even though I had my first child by C section, however I would not be left longer than 38 weeks and our baby would be delivered early.

At 38 weeks pregnant at my routine appointment a date was arranged for me to be induced. Due to some complications I wasn't induced that morning but went into labour naturally as I was waiting in the hospital. Our daughter Amy was born only 4 hours later (March 8th 2005 @ 9.59pm). Everything that the foetal medicine department had explained that would happen during the delivery was correct and made the whole experience less worrying. Amy was delivered naturally by a midwife, a doctor and his assistant were in the delivery room along with another midwife.

The paediatricians didn't come in until she was born and we got to see her before she was taken to Special Care Unit in the hospital. Amy was transferred to Birmingham Children's Hospital 3 hours later, her Dad followed her as I went to a ward for the night. I was discharged the next morning and went to see our daughter. Her bowels were in a bag and a little had already been squeezed back into her belly during the night, she was an incubator and was being fed by Parental Nutrition (PN) ,unfortunately they couldn't get the line through her arm so they had to go trough her head (sounds awful but be assured she didn't feel a thing).

After 5 days all her bowels were in her belly, now she had to tolerate the milk and have some bowel movement. It's probably the only time you'll be wishing for a dirty nappy and even nanny's and grandad's will be phoning up asking "has she pooed"! After a few day's her bowels opened. Sometimes there were times if felt like we took two steps forward and one step back and the pressure did get to us but we were lucky.

Amy gradually fed on more milk and after three weeks her PN line was removed, this was the first time I could hold our baby with no wires!! Amy was home after 3 weeks and discharged after 4. We we're really lucky and sometimes if babies either don't tolerate milk or if there's other complications with the bowels the time in hospital can be longer. Every child with this condition is very different. Amy is now 10 months old, she does have a hernia and will have another operation when she's about 2, but she's healthy and happy. I went on this web site when I found out about Amy's condition, it helped me a lot and prepared me. I realised how lucky we are with Amy and for all the staff during our pregnancy. The only advice I have is speak to other mothers on the wards especially mothers of babies who have had the same condition, it really helps.

Amy and big sister Ashleigh