“From bloodbath to bubble bath”
– by Fiona Mylchreest
Fiona Mylchreest, mother of five and wife of Borne Chairman Julian Mylchreest, shares one of her rollercoaster experiences of the NICU.
I confess, I watch CSI. I find it mindless and the gore doesn’t move me at all. I switch over if my children come downstairs, and of course one of them asked me what I was hiding; why I watched something horrid. I had to think about that. I think it goes back to NICU. Once you’ve watched someone prick your baby’s foot and squeeze out a phial of blood twice a day, or seen a skilled doctor struggle to find a vein in an arm the size of my finger, made up TV gore is meaningless. It’s just ketchup and escapism, nothing like real blood and pain and fear.
“I can still feel the sweet stickiness of blood on my fingers; I can feel the tension even writing about it.”
“My baby was lying in a puddle of blood, his tiny white babygrow saturated in scarlet.”
But two wonderful things happened. Firstly, he got better all by himself; his colour improved, his breathing self-regulated and he needed less and less oxygen. The second wonderful thing (now you see how shallow I am) was that to get the sticky blood off him he was allowed his first bath ever. That doesn’t sound very wonderful, but it was, because it was normal, it’s what mothers do with their babies, play with them in warm bubbly water and wrap them in big towels.
In less than a week we went from a blood-transfusion to a bubble bath; such was the roller-coaster of NICU; an incredible journey for which you don’t want a ticket.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Fiona Mylchreest is mother to five children, all of whom were born prematurely. She has written a number of pieces for Borne where she shares her experience and reflects on the implications and lifelong challenges caused by prematurity.