Yesterday it snowed, alot. It was all I could do to get back into our little hospital compound in my car, even in first gear poor Izzie was having a hard time. The cats were not that amused either especially Holly who thought it was rather demeaning for a 17 year old lady to have to go outside in it. Willow on the other hand was slightly more interested in leaving her paw prints in the car park.
Anyway, todays story comes to you with the support of the letter 'C' which is the name of the young lady I would like to tell you about. The letter will maintain her anonymity. I first met this young lady when she about 2 weeks old. She had been born at 28 weeks gestation and she was the first premature baby I looked after right the way through to discharge. In those days, incubators were much less moveable than they are now, these days they have mega-double glazing, special doors which stop the oxygen levels dropping, rubber bits to hold ventilator tubing and drips and are generally much more state of the art. Back in 1988, when this young lady was new born, the incubators were pretty old fashioned but they kept the baby's warm and safe.
I had always wanted to be a midwife but as I came towards the end of my general nursing training I became interested in special care so I spent several weeks working on my days off on the special care baby unit at The London Hospital. It gave me the confidence to apply for a position on the NICU in Reading and so in February 1988 I found myself working as a newly qualified staff nurse. To say it was scarey is an understatement. My second day, I was looking after a baby with so many tubes in I didn't know whether I was coming or going. I nearly threw in the towel.
This photograph is not of any baby I cared for but was a picture available on Google images to retain confidentiality and protection.
However, watching the smallest of babies growing and developing under such tough circumstances was incredible. I have held babies small enough to fit into the palm of my hand and watched babies who we thought wouldn't survive, miraculously pull through sometimes will only the will of God and their parents. It was truly an amazing part of my life to be a small part of the lives of so many precious babies who now like 'C' are grown up and doing incredible things with their lives. Oh did I forget to mention this particular premmie is now a lawyer?
In total I have worked in Reading, Cambridge, Southampton and Salisbury NICU's over a 13 years period and saw and learned a huge amount about love, resilience and courage. Looking back, I had some of the best years of my nursing career caring for these babies and their families.
If you would like to read about other babies cared for in Reading then go to this link where parents share some of their children's stories.