We all went
home devastated, with ears and minds ringing with stats and
names of conditions and syndromes that we had never heard
of. We also received a Geeps booklet, which would become our
lifeline, as the web at this time was very limited.
We waited for the test results and thankfully they came back
fine, Ryan also had a heart scan to check for defects and
that also came back fine. We visited Bristol Fetal Medicine
Unit about once a month and up to that time I was told that
I did have the option of a normal delivery.
I did feel very alienated from other expectant mums at anti-natal
visits, and my midwife was also struggling to keep up with
the chain of events. I would like to praise my midwife Diane
as she arranged all the visits to the local hospital to a
delivery suite so that I wouldn't feel left out.
At 37 weeks I had my last day at work and had a baby shower
and was thankful for all the support that work had given me
both in time and support. That afternoon we went back to Bristol
and Professor Soothill who had become a great support scanned
me and informed me that I was being booked in on the following
Monday for a c-section as he was
concerned that Ryan was a big baby and was unhappy with Ryan's
positioning and the state of the exomphalos.
We went home quite surprised at the news as I had always
expected a normal delivery, but I was apprehensive about the
following week. Monday came and I was wheeled down to theatre
and opted for a spinal so that
I could meet Ryan before he was whisked off to SCBU.
A few complications having a spinal, try having a nurse saying
to you “Now Miss Thatcher, bring your knees to your
chin to expose your spine (whilst lying on your side) I replied
“ I don’t mean to be rude but hello there is big
bump in the way, and I’ve forgotten what my knees look
This broke the very tense atmosphere, and we prepared for
the op, it was a very strange sort of spiritual feeling waiting
for a baby to come, and I lost count of the people that were
coming in and introducing themselves (Dave later counted 24!)
Ryan was born and I waited for the first cry but heard nothing,
he eventually let out a screamer and we knew he was here,
apparently the surgeon said he was asleep when he pulled him
out, and we woke him up!
We had a quick cuddle and at 9lb 6oz he was a good weight.
His exomphalos was then wrapped in cling
film/bubble wrap and he was whisked away with Dave in
tow. I was then stitched up and left in the recovery room,
the only criticism was that ½ an hour later, another
woman was wheeled in with her baby and left in the same room,
which I did feel was insensitive.
Ryan was then visited by Dr Cusick who did his operation
and a couple of hours later he was wheeled under the road
to the old Children’s Hospital where he was operated
on. The operation did take longer than planned, and I was
eager to see him.
Dr Cusick managed to put the entire bowel back in a 4cm
opening(his exomphalos was about 11cm in diameter), which
luckily was undamaged and do a primary
closure. He then spent 2 days in ICT and was then upgraded
to next door – High Dependency Unit.
about the bubble bath Mum"
Ryan recovered pretty quickly and after a week he started
some very small feeds of expressed milk via a tube. The only
blip to his recovery was that twice he had what was classed
an ‘episode’ where he stopped breathing for no
apparent reason, but was quickly revived. His heart was scanned
again but no problems were detected and we still are unsure
what caused these problems. I was there when he had one and
it was the scariest thing I have ever had to experience. Up
until the day he arrived I had felt I was in a dream world
and people would say you must be worried, to which I would
reply, everything is going to be okay. Ryan was discharged
after only 2 weeks and we took him home.
Since then he has done extremely well
and the only problems we have had are loose bowels to about
the age of 3 ½, and having to have soya milk from about
the age of 1 year old.
He now tolerates dairy products and eats
like a horse. He does have occasional tummy ache and normal
tummy bugs seem to affect him badly in the sense that he complains
about his scar site, which is currently being monitored.