This post is an extract from, Danny’s Birth Story
(Danny) was born by emergency C-section at 4.47 pm on Friday 18th April. It was “Good Friday” in many respects!
He weighed 7 lb 11 oz.
the photo above was taken, I was still in recovery on my own (well
without my family around me!), Dave was on the phone to (what felt like!) all of Milford Haven telling them our happy news!
A very proud Dad!
felt so tearful and alone, I had loved Dave putting my precious baby
next to me for cuddles and it was heart breaking when they both went
away. From a high…down to so low. Nowadays Dad/Birth Partner and
baby get to stay with you in recovery.
I came out of recovery, Dave was still on the phone. Mum, now a proud
Nanny, told me how my baby hadn’t stopped “talking” from the moment he
was born…if only we’d known what he was trying to tell us.
was gorgeous. I couldn’t stop looking at him, cuddling him, smelling
him, talking to him, singing to him. I had skin to skin contact and
tried to feed him with help from the midwives. He would latch on, feed for a few sucks then tire and sleep. We thought at first he was tired from the birth.
all my visitors had to leave. Dave went off to “wet the babies head”,
and Mum and Aunties to celebrate and make plans too.
was alone with my baby. I was in a ward on my own, and couldn’t yet
feel my legs etc after the c-section, so I had to ring the buzzer for
them to pass my baby to me or to put him into the cot etc. They were
happy with his feeding initially as he was latching on for twenty
minutes at a time, but I still felt he wasn’t feeding fully.
this time, I sang to him, “Your Song”, “Eternal Flame”, “Hush Little
Baby” and “Rock a Bye Baby”. I spoke to him in a quiet voice, telling
him all about his family and how loved he was etc. I felt so sad and
lonely that Dave couldn’t be there with me though.
my baby was unsettled, I felt like he was still hungry but couldn’t
feed. The midwives again assisted me to feed him. He still kept
crying and grunting. They said I needed to rest and said they would
settle him for me.
was gone ages, so I rang the buzzer. A midwife came to me, my baby
was fine, she said, but he was struggling to feed and breathe, which is
common in newborns, so they were going to put him in the Special Care
Baby Unit (SCBU) to help him breathe and feed for a while.
this happened, and I was alone, my heart aching for my baby (I had
only met him a few hours ago, but from now on it would always feel
strange to be away from him) another baby was born (now a school friend
of Danny’s). It felt strange to be there without my baby, while this
new Mum and Dad cuddled their baby.
The midwives told me to rest as I would need my sleep in the morning, but I couldn’t.
the morning, I congratulated the new mum. I was now so worried about
my baby. Why wasn’t he with me? I couldn’t wait for Dave or my family
to arrive. The Sister kept asking me when he was coming, I said
sometime this morning.
was told, I could go see our baby once Dad arrived, so now I was
desperate for Dave to arrive. I asked them to ring him for me and they
said they had been trying all morning.
I expected him to arrive, and ask how I was and I would explain calmly about how our baby was OK but had to go to SCBU. But NO.
rushed in the ward, SHOUTING, “What the hell’s happening?!” I’d been
missing my baby but had convinced myself he was OK and that I should
keep calm. Now I was worried.
hospital had not been able to get hold of Dave (he was out buying baby
gifts, balloons etc), so they had rung my Mum. They told her they had
to get hold of Dad ASAP. Something was seriously wrong, but they
could not tell her if it was me or the baby, so my poor family all had
to rush to the hospital not knowing what was wrong, how serious it was
and who was ill, myself, the baby or both?
thing, I’m being lifted out of my bed into a wheelchair, still in my
bloodied nightgown and surgical stockings. But, at last I am going to
see my baby.
it happened, SCBU was being rebuilt when our baby was there, so it was
temporarily in a very small, dark room (almost like a large
cupboard). In contrast to the dark room, in a well lit and heated cot,
there was our baby. Our innocent, natural baby, now full of wires,
keeping him alive. Breathing for him and nourishing him. We couldn’t
cuddle him. All we could do was stare at him, hold his hand, talk to
him and ask why?
The nurse took a polaroid of him for us to keep.
the doctors and Sister came in. They cleared their throats. They
explained that they didn’t know what was wrong with our baby. They said
it could be liquid on the lung or a hole in the heart, but our baby
would have to go to Cardiff for more tests. Sister advised us that it
was extremely important to name him straight away.
wanted him to be named in some way after my own late Dad, David (also
making him named after his own Dad and Great Grampy) and Dave was a huge
fan of the Wildhearts bass player, Danny McCormack, So that was him
named: Daniel (Danny) David Evans-Critten.
team from Cardiff came down within hours to pick Danny up. As he
needed so much life saving equipment and the transport team with him, no
family could travel in the ambulance with him. We had to say goodbye
yet again to my baby.
of the nurses was pregnant and I just remember thinking I hoped
nothing like this happened to her baby when he or she was born. I hoped
nobody else would ever have to go through what we were going through.
sister kindly offered to drive us to Cardiff. The ambulance driver
gave us directions to the hospital which was a two and a half hour
journey away and advised us not to follow the ambulance, so we wouldn’t
get upset if the emergency lights were turned on etc.
than twenty four hours post c-section, I had to discharge myself from
hospital to be with my baby. I was in so much pain, as obviously Danny
needed all the attention, so I didn’t get the topped up pain relief I
would get with future c-sections.
recalls now, that I was white as could be. Due to the worry, the pain
or maybe a mixture of both; when we were nearing Cardiff, the pain got
excruciatingly worse. Sitting hunched in a car for two hours had not
helped me at all. I couldn’t wait to get to the hospital to see baby
Danny again, but I also needed to get out of the car for a bit and use
laugh now in hindsight, at the sight that people at Cardiff Services saw
that day. A hunched over, white, tear stained little me hobbling to
the toilets…still in my bloodied nightie, surgical stockings
and slippers! Because all thoughts were on my poorly baby, these
things did not matter at the time.
Cardiff, Danny was diagnosed with Hypo plastic Left Heart Syndrome.
Due to the severity of his condition, he was transferred to Birmingham
Children’s Hospital, where he had his first major open heart surgery.
At three weeks old, Danny was well enough to be discharged from
hospital, and came home to Milford Haven for the first time. He
continues to have his operations at Birmingham.