Amazon Valentine

Saturday, 23 February 2013


(Taken from my book)

“I am afraid your baby will not survive the night.”

I stared in horror at the Consultant. I remember being shown into this separate room, set away from other mums and dads. It was  pale blue , the walls adorned with simple prints of pretty flowers. A small, cheerful,  sunny room where the anxious parents of new-born babies sat terrified, waiting to hear the best or the worst news of their lives. My news was clearly the worst kind.

“I really am very sorry.” The consultant was speaking again.
“But I have only ever seen this once before and the baby did not survive.” He gathered up his notes and stood up, pausing briefly to pat my shoulder sympathetically.
“The signals required from her brain to her muscles are more or less non-existent.” He explained absently. “You should prepare yourself for the worst.”

I could not even cry. I was numb. Jade was only 18 hours old and already being condemned as one of those “sad and tragic” statistics.

I allowed myself to be led from that bright and cheerful room. Through the bustling maternity wards where perfect babies were being held and cooed over by proud, beaming parents. I passed the nursing station where a pretty auxiliary smiled sadly in my direction. I remember that walk like it was yesterday. Every single detail burned into my memory for ever. It was the longest walk of my entire life.

Jade 45 minutes old
Jades birth was not so much traumatic as scary. Well,  for me anyway. It was an emergency C section and I was terrified. Dressed in the very fetching, compulsory hospital gown I was wheeled into theatre and given an epidural. I just shook from head to foot. Music was playing in the background ( Billy Jean by Michael Jackson would you believe!) and it was a flurry of activity. The surgeon laughed and joked his way through the operation, the nurse holding my hand behind the green sheet ( although why they bothered with this screening I have no idea. I could see all the gory details in the huge stainless steel theatre lights above me) rolling her eyes at his terrible one liners.
 It was not an uncomfortable experience, all I could feel was a strange tugging and a warm sensation as Jade entered the world silently at 11.10 am. White, limp and so tiny. I could see her mop of black hair as I looked at the makeshift, ceiling mirror. Jade was passed to the nurse and within a few seconds she turned pink. A few seconds more and a tiny mewling sound escaped  then a bigger cry. I remember gazing at her perfect face. Jade opened her eyes briefly. They were deep pools of inky, blackness. She was beautiful. I couldn't really take it all in. 

'You have a lovely baby girl' The surgeon boomed.

I held her briefly before she was whisked off to be weighed along with all the other things they do to new born babies. I suppose, like most new mums, you cant quite believe what has happened. You are now solely responsible for this tiny, helpless human being. Their survival depends totally on you. You float for a little while on the euphoric cloud that hovers above you, feeling pretty clever with yourself.
After all the tests ( including the Apgar) Jade was wrapped in soft, white towelling and handed to me, then we were wheeled back to the ward. My brand new, baby girl safely ensconced in my arms and me on my little fluffy cloud of happiness, grinning at everyone we passed. We parked the trolley and I managed to slide onto the bed. With the beady eyes of the nurse on me I prepared to feed Jade. Personally I did not see how this was going to be possible. My Boobs had swollen to mini rocks of Gibraltar and for the first time in years, a bra was not required! This was just simply going to work, no matter which way I placed her, she disappeared as soon as I presented her with Mount Etna!

Despite trying for nearly an hour, Jade was not interested, preferring to sleep. By this time I was beginning to hurt. My tummy, which had been pleasantly numb since we had left the Theatre, was relinquishing the painkillers and the epidural was wearing off with a vengeance. The nurse took Jade and suggested I try to rest and she would feed her (I had expressed some of the first breast milk). This I agreed to and settled down as best I could in those awful, starched to death, hospital bedsheets on a mattress made for elephants! 

My Dad and Step Mum arrived within 2 hours of the good news. Dad armed with half of Sainsbury's fruit section and Mum with balloons and flowers. I managed to get out of bed and we walked ( clearly I use the term walked in my case, very loosely ) along the corridors as the nurse instructed. I was still pretty much euphoric and felt very important. A new Mum's prerogative I think! 
We returned to the ward, took the compulsory pictures and I was told to rest. I kissed my family goodbye and arranged to see them once I was home and settled with my new baby. I checked on Jade
( returned to my bedside by the same nurse ) she was still sleeping soundly. I remember smiling and wondering what all the fuss was about with newborn babies that cry all the time. I was sure lucky with Jade! I dozed off happy and contented.

 I awoke to find a young man in a white coat leaning over Jade in her small perspex cot. He was moving her legs back and forth and writing something on a clipboard.

'Is there a problem?' I struggled to sit up.

He smiled at me over his glasses.

'Well baby is not doing as well as we would like.' I felt myself go cold. 'Nothing to worry about, we are going to run a few tests.' 

With that a nurse entered the room and whisked Jade out the door. I was left with very little information and a sick feeling in my stomach.

I did not have the luxury of a mobile phone, nor was I able to walk to the smoking room at this time of the evening ( Yip, they used to have them in hospitals!) to make use of the one installed for patients. I just lay waiting and wondering. Arguing with myself, dismissing different scenarios and most of all, hoping that everything was ok with my brand new baby daughter.

At 8 o clock that evening, a lady doctor entered my room and gently told me that there was something wrong with my baby. She was floppy, sleepy and not interested in feeding at all. She had no survival instincts and had been moved to the Special Care Baby Unit. She was to be transferred to Guy's Hospital in London first thing in the morning. I remember crying and begging to go and see her in SCBU. She promised me I could go to Jade as soon as they had finished running the tests. Meanwhile would I like a cup of tea! 
I created such a fuss I was actually allowed to smoke in my bed as long as I kept the window above my head open. I was given some sort of sedative.

I was woken the next morning by a nurse requesting I gather my things together as the ambulance was waiting downstairs to take us to Guy's. I met my daughter in the corridor outside. She was in a portable baby care unit, attached to many wires. Bleeps were making lights flicker on and off , or maybe it was the other way round. I didn't know nor did I care. My beautiful daughter was lying in a capsule of perspex, surrounded by technology and paramedics. I could not remember being this scared in my whole life.
Fortunately, I was totally unaware at the time, that this would be the start of a lifetime of fear for me. 


  1. Hi Jane, i am one of Jades volunteer friends at the hud in Sudbury, i have just been ready a bit from youre book, i would like to buy the book. Where could i buy it from from please, Many thanks Sue. xx

    1. Hi Sue. Thank you for your interest but most of all thank you for making Jade's Thursdays at the Hub, very enjoyable for her. My book is a work in progress and is not yet completed. I would love for you to have a copy as soon as I have finished it.

      Thank you Sue

      Jane x