This blog post is very bittersweet for me but I want to take a moment and shout from the roof tops just how amazing Bristol Children's Hospital is. I mean it's INSANE just how incredible every single person who works in that building is. The doctors, the nurses, the porters, the receptionists, everyone there works so hard. They truly have the biggest most beautiful hearts, it makes me well up when I think about it (I mean really, big old hormonal mama tears right now). I hope that the majority of parents who live in the surrounding areas of Bristol never get to witness this greatness, not even for a rogue pea up the nostril or a particularly bad ouchy after falling from a climbing frame, but for us here in the Zero Fox camp we unfortunately got to experience the amazing doctors and nurses just three weeks into little Autumn's life.
It all started one morning when Autumn started coughing up blood, of course this had to happen when Rob was out walking the dog so cue a panicked phone call and a quick run home to a slightly hysterical me. Being new at this parenting malarkey I didn't really know what to do (which might sound stupid but I was still in a daze after 25 hours of labour and 3 weeks of no sleep and excess sick up) I called the health visitor who assured me not to worry, it was probably blood from a cracked nipple (sorry no warning there, I went straight in and said the n word, the horror). Now I know my own body and was pretty certain that the copious amounts of Lanolin that had been smothered over those bad boys did not allow for cracks, so we got an emergency appointment at the GP's instead and left straight away. The GP also thought Autumn seemed fine, no struggling breathing, no excess crying just a little grizzly, but to err on the side of caution called The Children's Hospital and chatted to a pediatrician who advised that if Autumn refused to eat anything in the next few hours then we should bring her in. OK, so now my mama bear sensors are kicking in, something is not right with this mini human, although I had only known her for 3 weeks my spidey senses were telling me to get our asses down to A&E pronto. So off we went.
Within a couple of minutes of signing in we were seen by a nurse who checked Autumn over and started monitoring how much oxygen was in her blood. And this is the exact moment when the awesomeness of BCH's staff kicked in, we're talking full throttle, the monitor was taken off and a very calm nurse told us to follow her. We were immediately taken to a cubicle where she explained that she thought her machine was broken so could another nurse check her over, unfortunately the machine was not broken and as if by magic two doctors and three nurses surrounded Autumn, her blood oxygen level was very low, she had started to cough up blood again and they had to act now. Autumn was whisked away to a private emergency room where she was stripped off and put onto a warm bed with a heat lamp over her, she had an oxygen mask put on to her tiny face, her body was covered in wires, she had 2 x-rays and a tube was put down her nose into her stomach to try and pump out whatever was in there making her sick. And then she started to cry, she cried for 4 hours straight, and of course I cried and Rob cried and even the trainee nurse started to cry (which she tried to hide by going round a corner but Rob spotted her, she's only human, anyone in her position can't help but to show emotion surely?) So many thoughts were running through my head; was she going to be OK? What was wrong with her? Was she going to die on me? She couldn't die on me, I'd not even gotten to know her yet, she was my miracle baby (that's another blog post right there!) and was not allowed to leave me, she had to live to a ripe old age by which point I'd be 100 and living at the bottom of her garden and driving her insane.
Throughout the afternoon we were visited by so many doctors, some were from the ICU who were prepping a bed just in case, others were from different wards who were coming to check on her, we had a surgeon who thought they might need to operate. In between all these I also had nurses who were helping me pump copious amounts of milk from what can only be described as my 'Katie Prices' (nil by mouth and a crying baby = massive cow like boob udders) and there were just generally awesome people checking up on us.
We eventually moved to the high dependency ward where we had a private room with an en-suite and a pull out bed. Rob stayed for the first night (even though he wasn't really allowed to, the rebel). Autumn was monitored every 30 minutes by a conveyor belt of amazing doctors and nurses, at one point we caused quite a stir with the ICU doctor who ran out of the room calling for help because he thought the oxygen machine had stopped, little did he know that it was just the vacuum cleaner white noise app on our iPad which had timed out after continuously pretend hoovering the floor for the last 20 minutes (mega lols). After 3 days and me not once leaving that room, like some sort of champion little warrior, Autumn was well enough to go home. None of the doctors could diagnose what had been wrong with her but she'd bounced back so quickly that it was quite clear that she was some sort of super mini-human who had just decided to scare us for a few days for shits and giggles.
So that is our story of the amazing Bristol Children's Hospital and is exactly why we have chosen to donate £1 from every sale of our 'Little Warrior' t shirts to The Grand Appeal. A charity who have raised £50 million for the Bristol Children's Hospital over the last 20 years. Because of their amazing fundraising schemes I was able to sleep in a bed next to Autumn which was funded by money raised by them. They have supported families and helped the hospital care for thousands of sick warrior children over the years and this is our way of saying thank you.
So thank you Bristol Children's Hospital and The Grand Appeal, from the bottom of my heart, you rock.
Please do support The Grand Appeal any way you can, check out their website and follow them on social media to see all the amazing ways that they help the hospital, patients and their families.
The Grand Appeal: Registered charity number 1043603