“I was a young scared single mother-to-be, my baby (Josh) was 2 weeks overdue and I had been booked into Winchester hospital to be induced.”
“Things didn’t go according to plan and I had an emergency C-section…”
Today I’m going to share with you a moving story from Michelle Meehan from Eastleigh. The life of Michelle’s new born baby boy was saved, and their life transformed, through the incredible work by the doctors and nurses in Southampton Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
Here is Michelle Meehan’s story, in her own words:
“I was a young scared single mother-to-be, my baby (Josh) was 2 weeks overdue and I had been booked into Winchester hospital to be induced.
Things didn’t go according to plan and I had an emergency C-section, as they pulled Josh out he inhaled a load of meconium (baby’s first poo with a tar-like consistency) and all of a sudden he could not breathe, he was turning blue and was rushed away from me.
They transferred us to Southampton baby unit as they had the necessary aids to help Josh. He was in an induced-coma-like state for the first couple of days.
Josh was given 50/50 chances of survival, and when they told me his lung had collapsed that first night the fears all started to come true. But slowly and surely he fought and with the oxygen therapy eventually he made his way through the various dependency units until after 14 long days he could come home.
The nurses in the ward loved having Josh to look after as he was a chunky 9lb 2oz baby who they could cuddle. Most of the babies in the unit were tiny premature babies.
NICU had a lovely home-from-home room that I stayed in so I could be there for the whole 2 weeks and breastfeed on demand.
Without the unit I may not have my boy with me today, and he is 12 years old now.”
By Michelle Meehan
I first read about Josh’s story in March in the programme of Spring Happenings, 3 one-act plays performed by the Chameleons in Chandler’s Ford. Chameleon Theatre Company supports the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the Princess Anne Hospital in its 2013 – 2014 productions.
I later contacted Nick Coleman, who put me in contact with Michelle and Josh’s step-father, Matthew Meehan. Matthew directed one of the three plays, Chinamen, a farce about a catastrophic dinner party, which was totally absorbing and hilarious.
Josh knew how precious his life is. He wrote to tell us his story:
“I was born in Winchester, but was moved to the Southampton hospital baby unit after I inhaled meconium. I didn’t get my first proper feed until 4 days after I was born.
Once I was told about what happened to me I was shocked! The nurses and doctors told my family that I only had 50% chance of surviving.
Thanks to the special care baby unit I am now a healthy 12 year old after my 2 week struggle in the hospital. I am extremely grateful for what they did for me and if it wasn’t for them then I probably wouldn’t be here now.”
Michelle also showed me some scanned photos. One photo was Josh having his first proper feed at 4 days old and one of him looking very puffy due to the medication he had received.
Breast milk donation
Michelle would also like to tell us the importance of breast milk donation.
“The nurses gave me these photos to try and stimulate my milk supply. I had lost about 1.2 litres of blood during the Caesarean section and my milk wasn’t coming in. Josh was actually given donor breast milk (with my permission) to start him off until my milk came after about 6 days.”
By Michelle Meehan
The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) provides specialist care to sick term and pre-term (premature) newborn babies.
The state-of-the-art facility is located at the Princess Anne Hospital and has 36 cots, 20 intensive/high dependency cots and 16 special care cots.
It is one of the largest neonatal units in the country treating around 750 babies a year, from Southampton, Poole & Bournemouth, Chichester, Dorchester, Basingstoke, the Isle of Wight, Salisbury, Winchester and the Channel Islands.
From the website of Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
To support NICU, contact Southampton Hospital Charity or call 023 8120 8881.