"Maternity and OFNU"

About: Medway Maritime Hospital / Maternity

(as a parent/guardian),

At 27 weeks pregnant with twin girls after 10 years of trying and 3 years of failing IVF we lost one of our miracles. I called the midwife on call for lack of movement and was asked to attend the triage in maternity. I was taken in immediately, no waiting. I was monitored and when a second heart beat couldn't be found I was scanned. While initially reluctant to say it I could see the scan and Kira was obviously gone. The respect and compassion from this point onwards was amazing. I was scanned thoroughly to check our other twin who was doing well but small. The scans showed there was a flow restriction to the placenta and hopefully I could go to 36 weeks but we would confirm in the morning. I was taken to a side room on Pearl ward where my husband was given a recliner chair to sleep in. We were both fed and given drinks and made very comfortable. The consultant, I am sad I forget his name now, I think it began with E? I know he was absolutely incredible. He was reassuring of my remaining twins chances but realistic with us.

The nurses and csws were incredible. I was given steroids and magnesium which were both explained to me very clearly at a time I wasn't really taking much in. All of a sudden following another scan they explained the restriction was getting worse by the hour and I needed to deliver or lose my other baby. Everything was fast but again explained and then explained to my husband to reiterate if I needed it. 

When the time came to deliver I cannot fault a thing. Having had over 50 operations for crohns disease and having a stoma I have had a few scary episodes so was very anxious going into a theatre awake. The staff were incredible despite me begging to leave, I was completely exhausted and extremely upset, understandably not ready for this journey to end or in fact be real. They managed to calm me down and the epidural was in, and the nurse was chatting to me about how I met my husband when I heard them say to my husband 'camera ready!' and the girls were here. One team of midwives was dedicated to Kira, our princess born sleeping. She was treated so gently and with such kindness and respect, cleaned swaddled and given to my husband to cuddle.

Our other girl had her own team too who worked like lightning to get her breathing and comfortable enough for a few photos of us as a family before she had to go to NICU. The consultant who again I fail to recall his name but he specialises in twins and was very very tall,came to see us in recovery after his shift to see how we were and gave us a hug. What a wonderful man. 

In recovery the Nurse Sherman was INCREDIBLE my husband and I were given time with Kira and when we had a drink and sandwich Sherman offered to hold her rather than place her in her basket (which was specifically small enough for her tiny body helping with the shock of her 950g size) 

The midwife with us looking after Kira who herself, had twins held my hand as she asked if I wanted photos. She took Kira to her sister on the unit and took photos of them laid next to each other, in sepia so we couldn't notice the difference in skin tone which is an unpleasant shock, but I wouldn't have thought about it. I was incredibly grateful for this. 

The midwife placed a special heart in their hands which come from a bigger heart keyring, and got several angles. 

Once I left recovery I think I was on pearl again in a self contained 'flat' type room with a fridge shower room kettle etc and a sofa that pulled out for my husband to stay. Kira was placed in a 'cold cot' so she did not change and we were able to spend 2 precious days loving and saying goodbye to our precious girl. There were several items from cherished whispers charity in a memory box like 2 bears, a diary and USB to keep photos on, a memory candle and a keyring. There were clothes and books in the room so that we could dress Kira and read to her. When we visited our other girl a midwife sat with Kira so she wasn't alone. This was a small but much appreciated gift. When we were ready to say goodbye we were told we could see her whenever we wanted but they were honest that she may change in appearance so we chose to have our goodbyes then. The process of the funeral and coffin etc was organised by the amazing bereavement midwife Yvonne. It was a beautiful and respectful day. 

NICU themselves I cannot fault again. The unit were incredibly informative with daily ward rounds throughout the nurses and Dr's listened to us and really heard our concerns. One day she looked puffy and she had been on lots of fluids but I felt she was unwell. For 750g she was normally quite feisty and didn't like having awash or nappy done and this day she didn't peep so I just explained my 'feeling' the Dr's checked some other things with her routine bloods and discovered an infection. In my experience medical professionals tend to ignore patient knowledge of their own bodies so when they listened and acted I was grateful and pleased they were so good. A few times we almost lost her but the fast thinking of the staff kept on top of everything.

At one point a set of girl twins arrived and while the mum and I are now friends it was initially hard and the amazing nurse Sarah asked if I'd like to move which I was grateful for. A butterfly was placed on the cot to signify her loss and ours. We were encouraged to do as much for her as we wanted to, encouraged to eat and rest and look after ourselves. We got married while on the unit, we cancelled our wedding but went to the registry office as planned and came back to find 'just married' on the Incubator and a little cake which we shared with the staff. It was incredible and I know the nurse Hannah helped a lot with that. It made it the most perfect day it could have been. 

As our little girl progressed from NICU to HDU and SCBU to finally roomin in ready for home staff were so pleased for her. It felt as though they cared for her as much as we did. The staff genuinely take a lot of distressed rants and raving from parents who are upset and they keep it a positive and calm environment. Despite the wires and noises and machines it always felt calm. 

When the time for home came we were visited every other  then every few days until she hit target weight of 2kg then we were discharged but the unit have always been happy to chat if we are concerned. 

Thanks to medway maternity and OFNU my surviving twin is here, and a feisty 15 month old who has suffered no consequence of her prematurity so far. She runs circles around us and when we point to our family photo she can name mama dada and Kira. 

Without the kindness and amazing thought of the staff we wouldn't have the photo and we wouldn't have our little warrior. 

I can never. NEVER thank medway enough. From the domestic staff and porters to the consultants. Every person I've encountered has been a positive experience. Thank you for saving my baby,my family and changing our outcome to a happier one than it could have been.