Sunday, 23 October 2011

23rd October 2011

Apologies for the slight pause in blogging but believe it or not, I've been rather busy. A few days ago, a woman gave birth to her 28week baby in the toilet at the hospital. She thought is wasn't alive and so left it there and then came to report at the outpatient department (actually, just a small dark room). Having reported this story to Jeremy, through translators, one of the nurses was asked to go and look at the baby. A few moments later, she came back with him wriggling but as you might expect very cold. So the baby was taken to the 'female' ward and the mother, who by now was looking very shocked and did not have a recordable blood pressure, had to walk (no stretcher) to the 'female' ward where she was started on some intravenous fluids.

So the next few days have been spent trying to keep the 1.5kg baby alive. As you might imagine, there aren't any incubators or facilities for respiratory support and so he had to be a tough thing to get through this. The biggest challenge has been trying to maintain his temperature with just two hot water bottles; the second one only arrived on day 2 after much persuasion to seek out a further bottle. We also used empty drinking water bottles filled with hot water - thankfully they are tough enough to withstand the heat. The second challenge was to get the nurses to feed him 5ml of 10% dextrose through his nasogastric tube every hour. For the first 24 hours, I had to administer the feeds much of the time because everytime I went to the ward, he was very cold and hadn't been given any fluids. I'm not sure whether this was because they simply didn't see the point in caring for him as I guess they felt that it was futile - after all, a 28 week premature baby in the UK is going to have some challenges ahead despite all the available equipment and therapies. After a while though, the nurses joined in and I was able to leave them to feed him and keep him warm.

The situation was slightly compounded by the arrival of another 28 weeker the next day after baby A was born. So now a 1.4kg baby boy was placed in the cot with the other one. At least they could now keep each other warm! In some ways, it was easier to have the two together as it was easy to get into a routine for feeding and temperature readings. However, unfortunately, baby B died yesterday. I think we never really got on top of his fluid balance and therefore also didn't manage to keep him warm. It may also be possible that he was septic, as his mother was quite unwell, although we will never know this.

So I've just come back from seeing Baby A and he is doing remarkably well, all things considered. He is absorbing the fluids and is peeing - well, the blankets are wet so I assume he is. They don't have nappies. His mother is visiting him in in his temporary home, the labour room, which is attached to the female ward.

It has also been busy in the house as we have been trying to sort out the garden and make a start on the vegetable growing. We have also had to arrange to have a bed moved in to the spare bedroom here and given the steep and narrow stairs, this was no easy feat and involved taking the bed apart nd putting it back together upstairs. Still, all sorted now. Oh and the monkies are being total hooligans and have even popped in through the open door of the house and pinched a couple of bananas from the table.

I shall now go and roast some coffee beans and make some banana porridge - now a regular breakfast activity.


  1. Conditions are a bit different there for babies! Keep up the blogs, it's like the Archers in Etiopia!!We will send a package also to test the system. Love Mum

  2. Hi you wonderful people. All sounds amazing in a really surreal way. Let us know if parcels get through and we'll try and get things out to you that may be of use. Thank you so much for sharing this with us all. Gripping stuff! Love and kisses Angie and Kevin xx

  3. Karen,
    thankx for pointing out your blog. Jeremy's is somewhat scattered. Yours is sharp and focused like a . . . . like a . . . . I know! Like a laser!!

    I do hope you are successful in getting a robot to Dimbie. I think you will find it will make surgery there much easier in addition to the obvious financial advantages.

  4. Alison Nightingale24 October 2011 at 21:36

    Gosh - I guess this is starting to be a reality now. Can't have been an easy few days. So great that baby A is doing well bearing in mind that without your intervention he wouldn't have survived this long either. Sounds like you have your hands full with those naughty monkeys. I'm waiting for the blog that tells us they now have names and come and sit in your shoulder!!! Alison xx

  5. I should print this post out and send it to the woman who wrote a complaint in one of my previous hospitals, because she was told there was no ice-cream, where in fact there was some left.

    Happy to see you are settling in.

  6. Exciting stuff. I hope you get the vegetables planted I suggest not down wind of the rubbish hole! Lots of love Kevin

  7. Thanks to Internet technology I have just addressed, franked and completed customs declarations for two small packets which are now headed to you and Jeremy. I had to leave my chair to post them in the postbox just outside but I'm sure Royal Mail will soon come up with a solution for that too! I am keeping my fingers crossed that both reach their destination intact. Share nicely if only one makes it, and if neither do we will have to rethink our strategy. Carrier pigeon?
    Lots of love, Karen, Olie & Adam xxx

  8. Thanks for all the comments - It's lovely to know that you are all there reading this.

    Now that I have found the post office, I am going each day to see if I have some post. It's very exciting. A real treat is then to go to the juice bard for a drink!
    Karen (can't work out how to post comments and have my name attached)

  9. Nice to hear I will have a bed to stay in next week!

    Although I fear I will have to toughen up considerably if I am to be of any use. Your tales of baby a and baby b made me blub......Missing you guys! xxxx