We were referred to Southampton Hospital as they have the
nearest baby neonatal unit to where we live. The consultant
team we saw there were excellent and once they knew we were
determined to carry on with the pregnancy they were very supportive.
We had scans every two to three weeks at either Bournemouth
or Southampton so they could keep a close eye on how our baby
was developing. The doctors were pretty certain that the baby's
other organs were all developing correctly - heart, lungs
etc but they explained that the Exomphalos was huge and that
they can only see so much on an ultrasound meaning they would
have to wait till the baby was born to give an absolute evaluation
on its overall health. We decided not to find out the sex
of the baby as due to all the scans we felt we already knew
so much about our baby that we wanted a surprise.
The doctors decided to treat the Exomphalos conservatively
as it was larger than anticipated and Summer's abdomen would
not be able to accommodate it. This means allowing the skin
to grow up and over the Exomphalos and then putting it back
inside when she is older - probably two or three years old.
The Exomphalos was originally covered with surgical clingfilm
which has to be changed daily. We gradually started changing
the dressing ourselves under the supervision of the nurses/doctors.
We also helped with her feeding which was originally done through
a nose tube , then a syringe and they always let us do the dirty
nappies!. After a week and a half I was able to try breast feeding
but the doctors did not feel Summer was getting enough calories
to put on weight and grow the skin over her Exomphalos. Therefore
she is now having half breast feeding and half SMA High Energy
formula to give her the extra calories she needs.
My consultant was happy for me to go into spontaneous labour
and try and give birth naturally but said that if I had not
gone into labour by my due date then I would be induced on
the 7th July 2008 - two days after due date. My waters broke
on the Sunday 6th July but I didn't have any contractions
so on the Monday 7th I was induced. 12 hours of labour later
and the baby was getting distressed so the doctors decided
to do an emergency C-Section.
At 10.04am on the 8th July 2008 Summer Hope Rudd was born
weighing 6lb 10oz. We were very surprised that she was a girl
but so pleased!!!
Summer was taken directly to the Neonatal unit and was hooked
up to oxygen, heart and lung monitors and had a canula put
in each hand. When I was taken to see her for the first time
she looked so tiny all wired up but she looked at me with
her big blue eyes and I fell instantly in love with her and
I didn't even notice her Exomphalos!
Summer stayed in hospital for three weeks mainly due to the
fact that she had an infection and lost quite a lot of weight.
At three weeks old she came home but still had to be taken to
the hospital weekly for a check-up on her tummy and weight gain.
Summer is now ten weeks old and since she has been home her
Exomphalos has reduced in size by half - much to her doctors
surprise. The skin has almost grown completely over her tummy
- it really is a miracle to watch. She now weighs 8lb 9oz and
every day amazes us with how well she is doing. She has had
no other complications and is the most cheerful baby - with
The doctors plan to operate on her tummy when she is two or
three years old which will be another big hurdle to overcome
but I am sure our amazing daughter will cope wonderfully as
she has with everything else so far!!
Summer's Blog can be found here Blog