Angus

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Even before my husband and I were married, we knew we wanted kids straight away. After a few months of trying I was pregnant. I was worried about miscarriage and remember talking with my GP about the statistics and saying ‘1 in every 4 pregnancies is lost’ His reply was ‘but 3 in every 4 survive’ I loved being pregnant. I had very few complaints and once I passed the 12 week mark we shared our news with everyone, I thought now I was safe. I had an obstetrician appointment when I was 28 weeks and 2 days. I told my husband that he didn’t need to come with me as all would be fine. How wrong I was. I told my obstetrician that I was a little concerned that I hadn’t felt a lot of movement and didn’t feel I was getting any bigger, unlike a friend who was the same gestation. He reassured me by saying that all pregnancies were different and to not compare myself with others. He did a quick scan and with a worried look told me that the baby was very small and I had very little amniotic fluid. Stupidly I asked if it was because I hadn’t been drinking enough water!

I was quickly sent to KEMH where my husband met me. We met a high risk obstetrician who did lots of scans and asked if I had brought my bag. I was only 28 weeks, I hadn’t even packed a bag.  The doctor then held my hand and I knew something was seriously wrong. He said ‘ your baby is very, very sick, if we have any chance of saving it we have to deliver immediately, what do you want to do?’ Of course we wanted our baby to be given the best chance of survival. I was rushed into theatre. Angus Scott came out and gave a tiny cry. He was ventilated and taken straight to the NICU. Not until the next day did I get to meet my tiny boy. He weighed a mere 790 grams and was 35cm long. Angus had all the ups and downs that premmie babies do. He was a poor feeder, slow to put on weight and needed oxygen support. We were approaching his due date and someone dared whisper the H word, Home. Before he could be discharged he had to be immunised. So he was give the injections, if all was OK in the next 24 hours we could take him home. He had a mild fever, which everyone told me was normal, but whilst holding him he stopped breathing. The staff got him breathing again but I was a mess. He had 2 more episodes and was threatened to be put back on the ventilator. He didn’t like this idea, kept breathing on his own and 2 days later we took him home.  

While Angus was in hospital he developed a haemangioma, also known as strawberry birthmark, on his cheek. Doctors called it his button. It was about the size of a 5c piece which was quite big on his dear little face. It was purely cosmetic and we were told that it would disappear by the time he was 2. We just saw past it, though many didn’t. Angus was always a noisy breather and poor feeder. Things got worse and after 10 days at home, he was starting to really struggle to breathe. We decided to take him to our local hospital. When we arrived it was like he knew we were there and he just fell apart. The staff were struggling to deal with him and WANTS was sent to pick him up. They immediately intubated him and he was taken to PMH and admitted to NICU. After intensive testing it was found that he had a haemangioma grown in his trachea which had occluded his airway by 90%. He was lucky to be alive. Most of the staff had never seen anything like it. We were extremely lucky that our ENT specialist had seen it before. Unfortunately, the only treatment at this young age was a tracheostomy. Looking after a baby with a tracheostomy is hard work. They are completely mute, so from then on we didn’t hear our baby boy make any noise. We received lots of training and support and were eventually allowed to take him home. Every few months he would return to hospital and be put under a GA and have a steroid injection into the haemangioma in the hope that it would shrink. After 10 treatments it wasn’t working.  At 15 months he endured a one of a kind reconstruction of his trachea which was a complete success. He had a voice and he wasn’t afraid to use it. From then on he just went from strength to strength. 

That little boy is now 10. I am amazed by him every day.

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