Opal’s Story
Opal’s Story
Opal’s Story

Opal’s Story

University Hospital Lewisham

My pregnancy was up and down as I had a constant UTI (Urinary tract infection) throughout my pregnancy that eventually had to be treated with antibiotics up until my baby was born. 

I also had gestational diabetes later on in pregnancy which required medication. 

Gestational diabetes had the effect that my baby was growing big which concerned the doctors and they informed me that I would have to deliver her early by being induced. I was booked in for the 4th of January 2023. Unfortunately, the induction did not work. On the 6th of January 2023, my daughter Opal was born at 11.04 am at 38+2 gestation by emergency caesarean.

Opal was born in good health and did not require resuscitation initially. At about 30 minutes of life, Opal developed breathing difficulties which required oxygen. She initially was admitted to Vapotherm (treatment for respiratory distress) but she deteriorated and required intubation and ventilation and the administration of a Curosurf (a medicine used to treat the symptoms of Respiratory Distress Syndrome in premature infants). Opal had to be extubated to VT (Vapotherm) on day 2 of her life. Opal was screened and treated for sepsis and she completed 5 days of IV (intravenous) antibiotics.

During her stay, Opal was tube fed and she lost 10 percent of her birth weight. But with the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) nurse's help and guidance, I was able to express and breastfeed Opal in privacy behind screens donated by Ickle Pickles, helping Opal to gain weight.

Opal was slowly weaned off all of the oxygen and after 6 terrifying days of her in intensive care we were finally allowed to take her home.

These 6 days of Opal being in NICU felt like a lifetime. I felt like I was holding my breath. Having my baby girl removed from my arms and taken to NICU was a feeling I just cannot describe.

My partner could not visit Opal for several hours. I did not see her until the next day as I experienced a lot of blood loss and had to rest. I only saw my baby girl via photos. When I finally got to see her, I was overwhelmed by all the machines, the sound of the monitors and the sick babies around us. I was scared of how delicate and unwell my precious baby was.

The doctors and nurses were just amazing. They made me feel at ease and gave me great comfort that my baby would recover. They allowed me to be a mummy by encouraging me to be with Opal. I was by her side, holding her hand through her incubator and talking to her and the staff always kept me informed about her recovery. 

The donations from the Ickle Pickles made all this possible and of course, the NICU team saved my baby girl's life. No words will ever describe how thankful we are to Lewisham Hospital NICU and Ickle Pickles. 

Thank you for looking after our baby Opal from Carley and Dan.

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