Welcome To The Story Of Our Little Miracle...

Betty May Woolridge - Born 28th May 2018

Introduction

Hi, I’m Mandi and this is my blog. I am going to tell you about the 5 week nightmare my partner and I found ourselves on following reduced movement at 35 weeks pregnant.

I decided to write this blog after talking to people about our experience and seeing their reactions. Countless people have suggested I write everything down for various reasons. The most pertinent I feel are to help others who may find themselves in a similar situation and to offer me a little therapy. I have found sharing snippets of our journey on social media helpful, cathartic to some degree. I’m a mental health nurse by trade so blogging is new to me, please be patient! I may make mistakes. 

 I will share with you what happened to us and to our baby girl. This won’t be easy to write and there are several events that happened that I do not remember and so my wonderful James will be filling in some blanks for us all. James is Betty’s father and my partner and he will feature in this blog frequently. 

James is the calm in my storm. He can see reason, be rational and keep his head together when life gets ridiculously tough. And of course he is not perfect! And we have our moments but the bottom line is, I love him like crazy. He is my love and without him I would be lost. Enough about him anyway. 

I need to forewarn you that this blog may not be easy reading for everyone. I will talk about really poorly babies and I will share some photos of our little girl. In the interest of my darlings own privacy I will limit photos shared and details of medical interventions but what I am going to share is enough. It’s harrowing, it’s scary as hell and it happens. It can happen to any one of us. 

I want to reach other parents who have gone through similar and I want to share the harsh realities of mumming. There are countless things that they never tell you. And I want to talk about those things. 

I am going to be writing this blog in chapters. This is helpful for me because I am putting all of my thoughts in order. At the moment everything is still a jumbled up mess in my mind and I need some order in there. I will open this blog with 5 chapters and then I will update with a new chapter each week. I welcome comments, I want this to be helpful for other people, not just me. 

The aim of this blog is not to scare anyone, it’s about sharing our story.  The soaring highs and incredible lows.  My approach may not be your cup of tea (I swear, what a shocker eh, a mental health nurse that swears…..) but I am honest and this is a story that I feel needs to be told.

The Comms Team…

I feel at this point I should introduce you all properly to the people that played an enormous role in this journey of ours.  When this all happened I didn’t know what was ahead of us so I just shut down.  I removed all social media from my phone and I selected...

Boobs

Nursery one was starting to get a little easier.  I refused to leave Betty when there were certain visitors around, I wouldn’t leave her when there were screaming toddlers running around and I would make sure that the nurse with Betty for each day knew how I felt. ...

Our First Cuddle

  As Betty seemed to be getting better, the decision was made to remove her breathing tube.  She hadn’t breathed on her own at all so I was petrified at the thought of the tube coming out, which I am sure sounds bonkers.  I asked what would happen if she didn’t...

Another diagnosis…

  For two whole weeks we did the same routine, about 12-14 hours with Betty, then back to the House, eat, shower, express.  James went home a lot.  He would go and get me more clothes, pants, whatever.  I wouldn’t go home.  I didn’t want to ever go there, not without...

Chapter 12 Treatment, Diagnosis……

On arrival to PAH Betty had a chest drain inserted and this was aimed at draining the fluid from her chest.  Now here is the bit I never understood and I still struggle with it so please bear with me.  The fluid that was drained off her chest was measured every hour...

Chapter 11 Post 48 Hours and Ronald McDonald House

My sister, loving my Betty..... James was introduced to Ian, a good friend of mums, he was also there the night we arrived in Southampton.  Ian is a technician on the NICU and knows everything there is to know   about all the equipment.  Ian also helped James with...

Chapter 10 Princess Anne Hospital

I knew the way to the PAH like the back of my hand so I knew when we were close.  The sick feeling in my stomach kicked in again and as we turned right and approached the main entrance, I saw a few bodies.  Mum.  Mum was there.  It was late at night, really late I...

Chapter 8 The blur begins

I think at this point I must introduce you to my inner dialogue. You know that little voice we all have, the one that nags you all day at work asking ‘did you actually turn your hair straighteners off?’ or ‘I’m pretty sure these are the jeans that give you really bad...

Chapter 6 Saturday 26th May 2018

On arrival to the maternity unit we were taken through and rigged up to the standard monitoring device. From my understanding, one monitors the baby’s heart beat and the other checks for uterine movement or contractions (but I'm not a midwife so I don't know for...

Chapter 5 Twickenham

On Saturday 26th May 2018 James and I set off to Twickenham.  I had bought him tickets to the rugby final for his birthday and we had been looking forward to it since January.  It was a mega hot day which was uncomfortable for big swollen me, but I just went along...

Chapter 4 Why so nervous?

I have spoken to my friend Rachel about this part of the blog and about my anxieties during pregnancy. She knew why I was so scared. And she is happy for me to talk about her experience here. Rachel’s story is hard to hear but it is real and it happened to her and it...

Chapter 3 Pregnant

As I said in the intro to this blog, my pregnancy was fairly mundane. No morning sickness, no drastic changes to daily living except I needed to wee a lot more than usual. I carried on training at my gym (which is all carried out under direct supervision by trained...

Chapter 2 Having My Thunder Stolen…

James and I had planned getting pregnant in a fairly pragmatic fashion. I do like a clear plan, contingency plans, lists and check boxes. The plan was simple, have a great big holiday before having a baby. So that’s what we did. I have a love of cold places, wildlife...

Chapter 1 My Mum/Carol

In order for my ramblings to make sense, I think it’s important to describe a little about my background and my family. This way, when I describe my mum interchangeably as Carol/mum, you’ll understand and even if you don’t, you’ll see why I do this. You see, my family...