This year emergency services day has been cancelled. Usually they would hold big events so that you can see how the emergency services work in your community. Instead they will be running a big media campaign and lots of virtual events will be taking place instead. We are so grateful to the emergency services that we still wanted to recognise them in some way. Our best tool to do that at Presents For Preemies is our blog!

In my family and friends circle I have several police officers, firefighters, ambulance crew workers and NHS staff. They all do an amazing job and I love to hear the stories they have to tell from a variety of shifts they have worked. I wanted a career in the police, but it wasn’t to be. Careers in any of the emergency services take their toll. They see the best and worst humanity has to offer. Not to mention the shift work that takes its toll over time.

When I had my preemie the NHS were amazing. The speed at which I was moved to have an emergency c-section was incredible. The fact that no one in the theatre had to talk but everyone knew they were there to save a little babies life. They each knew their role and who had to be where and when they had to be there. If I wasn’t quite so traumatised I may have appreciated it more at the time and told them.  

After being discharged from the neonatal unit we received home visits from the neonatal nurses. This was a great level of extra support that I needed at the time. Yet again I was grateful to the NHS for the service they provided. Day 4 the unthinkable happened though.

CPR training

After 73 days on the neonatal unit we thought we had been through the worst and things were going to be all good. Four days later though our son he went into respiratory arrest just after my husband had fed him. The life just slipped peacefully out of him. It looked like he was sleeping, then suddenly he was turning blue.

Baby in a hospital cot with oxygen prongs on
Baby in a hospital cot on oxygen

My husband is in the emergency services and had been trained to do CPR on a baby. He quickly lay him down him down on a firm surface and tried jiggling and arm and a leg. There was no response. He then gave him 5 rescue breaths but he still wasn’t responding. He then started doing the rhythm of 30 chest compressions followed by 2 breaths. During this time I was calling for an ambulance.

I did the training on the neonatal unit but I remember thinking “I’m never going to need this”. It felt like a tick box exercise. The member of staff training me though was one of my favourites though so I paid attention. I’m so glad I did. I didn’t perform CPR that day but I was never going to forget how to do it if I was ever on my own and it happened again.

The ambulance crews

Two ambulances and a first responder arrived at our home. We had five paramedics rushing to our sons rescue. Luckily my husband managed to revive him just as they turned onto our road. The crew that arrived first quickly took charge, hooking our baby up to monitors to check his saturation levels. They also took his temperature which had dropped to 33 degrees, 4 degrees lower than it should have been.

I quickly got myself ready packing a bag with all my son’s medication. They blue lighted us back to the hospital where my son was born. The paramedic that was with me in the back was relaying information to comms. I provided name, age and medical history of my son whilst he was wrapped up tight in my arms. He was drowsy but stayed awake the whole journey. I had an oxygen mask propped on my shoulder aimed towards his face to try and get his oxygen saturation levels to improve.

We arrived at the hospital where a team were ready and waiting for us. I walked my son over to the furthest bay which was decorated with bright colourful animal pictures. As soon as I set him down the team set to work on my tiny baby boy immediately. A lot of questions were fired my way like what time did it happen? Time had become meaningless, I had no idea. Luckily the paramedic hadn’t left my side and he was able to tell them the time I made the call.

I’m so grateful to all of the staff who were involved with my son’s care. I wish I had made notes of all their names so I could thank them on a more personal level. However, a more general thank you will have to do!

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