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It Can and Does Happen

On Wednesday Marianna went for her physio appointment and they confirmed my fears that she is slipping behind when it comes to movement (rolling, crawling, etc). It's not really a big deal; she is only nine months old, she has plenty of time to catch up. Intellectually, I know this. Emotionally, it still feels like it must be my fault somehow - I'm the one who couldn't manage what women have been doing since time immemorial, and I'm the reason my daughter has to keep being poked and prodded and told she really ought to be more by now.


The truth is that around 15% of babies are delivered by emergency cesarean section (source) in the UK, and one in nine babies will spend time on the neonatal unit (source).

I just wish somebody had told me.

All through my pregnancy I was made to feel I was being paranoid or, worse, silly whenever I suggested the birth might not go according to plan. Everything would be fine, and there was no point in worrying myself. Except, of course, everything wasn't fine and if we had been living just a few decades earlier the most likely outcome is that neither of us would have made it home from hospital.

Because it's not just premature babies who end up needing extra care. In 2011 6% of full term babies born in England needed to spend time on NICU - the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (source).


Marianna spent three weeks on the neonatal unit, the first ten days or so of that on NICU. The care she received was amazing and I can never thank the neonatal and the surgical staff enough. The experience I had on the post-op ward was something else entirely. Being unable to move kind of restricts your ability to change maternity pads, etc, so you just get to lie in your own bloodbath. My IV cannula came loose and wasn't replaced for hours. When Marianna had a fit in the early hours I was told to stop being ridiculous - because crying is, obviously - and to tidy the bedside table I couldn't reach before they would let the consultant in to explain what was happening...

On High Dependency.

I'm not saying that all aftercare wards are that bad - I certainly hope they're not! - but no matter what treatment you're getting, you're hardly in the right head space to start from scratch. 11% of babies spend time in neonatal care. (Not to mention the 0.5% of stillbirths.) There's surely room in among all the endless information you're given while pregnant for some basic info about what that might entail, for your baby and for you.

Forewarned is forearmed, after all.

You're your baby's greatest advocate, more awareness and understanding of what can - and not infrequently does - happen can only make that role easier. Nobody likes to think about the worst case scenario, but surely it's so much better than having to live through it then look back and wonder 'what if' and 'if only'.

  Brilliant blog posts on

A Cornish Mum


  1. Such an honest post. Im sorry that I am so speechless are I am still digesting the words here. What I can just say is that thanks for sharing your thoughts. #picknmix

  2. Sounds like you had an awful experience :( We ended up on the intensive care unit for quite a while and it was terrifying. It is hard too hear about all the worst case scenarios but they should be a bit more forthcoming with information even though it's not what everyone wants to hear xx

    1. I think that's it, just a little info beforehand. Like the leaflets they give you on SIDS - not an avalanche of info, but just raising awareness. x

  3. Sounds like you had a tough time. My third was born by emergency section after my first two being natural and it was such a shock. Your little girl is beaitiful! Thanks for linking to #PickNMix


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