Finley is our little miracle baby!
Experiencing a relatively normal and healthy pregnancy, we had no idea of the battle Finley was to fight when he was born. Nothing was picked up on the scans, even the sizing scans I had at 38 and then 39 weeks due to my bump being smaller then they’d expect, but it was decided that he would just be small and that there was little fluid around the baby but it was OK as he had fluid in his tummy. The long 36hour labour started naturally the day before his due date but his heart didn’t falter once, giving us no clue that there would be any problems. When he was finally born onto my tummy at 9:03am weighing 7lb 10oz, the feeling of absolute joy soon disappeared as he didn’t make a sound and stayed a deep blue, causing the lone midwife to press the emergency alarm. Within seconds the room filled with doctors while I lay exhausted on the bed with my legs in stirrups, and he was whisked to the resuscitation table. After a few tense moments they then passed him back to me saying that his reluctance to breath was due to the shock of the birth but he was now breathing adequately. We dressed him and I tried to breastfeed but we both knew that something still wasn’t right, the paediatricians came back and took Finley to the SCBU. By the time I had been sorted out, they had already done an X-ray and discovered a large right-sided diaphragmatic hernia with all his intestines and liver in his chest. They were already on the phone to other hospitals that were more equipped as where he was born in Chichester didn’t have the facilities or the appropriate surgeons to deal with this condition. The transport team promptly turned up and at 3:30pm, he was transferred by ambulance to Princess Ann Hospital in Southampton, leaving us behind as there was no room for us to travel with him.
The day after Finley was born, the surgical team decided he was strong enough for them to operate. So he was ventilated while we were taken into a side room where we were told all the worse possible outcomes of his condition and the operation. At this point I was convinced that my first born would die without me having given him a proper cuddle. We went back into the neonatal intensive care where Finley’s operation was to take place as he was too poorly to be moved and kissed him goodbye. This was the worst day of our lives until the consultant came to tell us that the operation was a success, but not to get too excited as babies have a tendency to ‘crash’ before they get better. We waited for the ‘crash’ but it never came, he just went from strength to strength. By 4 days old he was off the ventilator and stayed off and by 6 days old he was breastfeeding. We eventually all went home TOGETHER when Finley was only 9days old. I truly believe that his speedy recovery was helped as the nurses were amazing letting us do kangaroo holds as much as possible and the fact that I breastfeed meant that they couldn’t measure how much milk he was taking.
Before we left, we were given a leaflet about CDH that is usually given to families who have it diagnosed antenataly and we were utterly shocked to read the statistics. To this day I am so grateful I didn’t know all this information before Finley’s recovery.
2 weeks later we went back for his check up and the doctor was amazed that not only had Finley gained weight but he was thriving! He is now 2yrs old and has just been discharged from the paediatric out patience and was discharged from the surgical out patience last year.
I wrote Finley’s story to give other families hope, that its not always the sad ending that the doctors prepare you for so just take each day as it comes x