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Louis Smith

I have decided to write my story of how I felt being pregnant for the second time having had Louis , my first son (right sided CDH ). Louis was born 01-07-2005 in Hackney after induction and a long labour finally with forceps. We had no idea he was ill. On the 2nd day on the post natal ward with me Louis was not breast feeding or bottle feeding well and we had tried cup feeding etc but it was not working. Louis also seemed to be breathing fast but we were first time parents so felt it was our inexperience.

On the 3rd day ( a day which we thought we would be discharged) Louis had an X ray and our lives changed forever. A problem was discovered but the doctors were not sure if Louis would need an operation. We were whisked to Great Ormond Street and a right sided CDH was diagnosed and an operation planned for day 7. Louis did well and we were home by about week 4 but I struggled terribly with feeding, he had severe reflux and poor weight gain so in and out of hospital until about 2 and a half years old.  Louis still suffers asthma and has been hospitalized several times. We have to be vigilant about cats, dogs etc. and even dusty houses can set him off and he goes down hill very fast.

When Louis was about 2 and a half, I found myself pregnant for the second time. We had discussed a sibling for Louis but were so apprehensive as Louis had taken us to places we never thought possible and exhausted us, elated us, nearly broken us. I am sure there are readers who know exactly what I mean!

In a funny sort of way I also felt much stronger and calmer. It was if I had taken so much with Louis that I felt having a second child was less of a risk. If I can make it after being so low, maybe I can have another baby? We decided we would try.

Throughout the pregnancy the doctors were very good and reassured us at each stage that our new baby was healthy. I was still unsure as whether to believe them as both scans with Louis had shown nothing but a healthy babe. I knew that until my second baby was born and home I would not believe it. Luckily for us our second son Samuel was born on 30-08-2008 and he was a bonny boy. He fed well and slept and it was like a dream for me. My husband calls it therapy. I am still amazed that a baby can behave like he does and isn’t sick all the time and doesn’t choke on the slightest raisin and doesn’t cry all the time and doesn’t need drugs five times a day etc.

I say to many friends that I had a life pre Louis and Louis changed me forever. I know this is the same for most first time mothers but having a sick baby is so demanding on you in every way. I also look at my boys now and can’t quite believe that we are this far.

I am happy to talk to anyone who may wish to discuss anything regarding CDH and would be so pleased to know that I can help somebody else like Brenda at CDH UK helped me nearly 5 years ago. Without Brenda I would have been very alone and unable to see a possible end to those dark days.

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