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Our son was hooked up to machines

Ian and Sairah’s son had a pneumothorax at birth. This is also known as collapsed lung and is rare.

Sebastian, Sairah and me

A few minutes after our son Sebastian was born by forceps in theatre, his vital signs were checked. The doctors noticed his breathing was very laboured. They took him away to do further tests.

Our feelings were all over the place – we felt he was in good hands but we were really worried. We desperately wanted to know if it was serious.

It seemed like forever, but a few hours later we found out he had a pneumothorax – a collapsed lung – and he’d need to stay in the special care baby unit.

This was not how we imagined our first baby would come into the world

It was really difficult

Emotionally, Sairah and I found it really difficult - this was not how we imagined our first baby would come into the world.

We were essentially separated from him for the first week of his life. We could visit him in the unit but he was covered with wires and hooked up to all sorts of medical equipment.

We couldn’t do all the things we instinctively wanted to do – spend all day with our amazing son, cuddle him and bring him home.

With Sebastian at hospital

The very hardest thing was when Sairah left hospital without Sebastian. It felt totally wrong.

But our heads told us it was vital Sebastian got this care. The staff were amazing. They supported all three of us.

As well as round-the-clock care for Sebastian, his doctors and nurses talked to us frequently and reassured us as much as they could.

They welcomed us to visit him at any time and taught us how to feed him and change his nappies. They also encouraged us to cuddle him as much as possible!

Going home

Fortunately the pneumothorax healed itself within one week.

It was a huge relief when all three of us could go home together.

It was a huge relief when all three of us could go home together

Since then, Sebastian’s had the usual cold and coughs – about one a month. Like all our friend’s babies, he’s had fevers and sniffles.  He’s had a runny nose – which he can’t blow! – a temperature, coughs, and difficulty breathing and sleeping.

We try to keep calm, as babies can pick up on your mood. And we’ve got to know how Sebastian breathes normally, so we spot when things change. After what happened when he was born, we’re keen to recognise immediately when we need to get help. We don’t worry about wasting doctors’ time – when it comes to babies things can escalate rapidly and it’s better to be safe than sorry.

A few times, we’ve called 111, or our out-of-hours GP service. And we’ve taken him to our GP to discuss symptoms if they’ve lasted. We took him to A&E when he had bad gastro-enteritis.

We talk to our friends with babies and compare notes. That’s so reassuring. It’s quite daunting as a new parent to be sure you’re doing the right thing for your baby.

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6 December 2016