Booby trapped!

Real People - - CONTENTS -

Ex­cit­edly, I flipped the pages of the baby man­ual un­til I reached the chap­ter on breast­feed­ing.

‘I’m re­ally look­ing for­ward to it,’ I said hap­pily to my part­ner, Con­nor Smith, 23.

‘It’s such a spe­cial thing to do.’ I’d fallen preg­nant again just three months after I’d had a mis­car­riage.

Now me and Con­nor, a weld­ing en­gi­neer, were brim­ming with hope after the heart­break of los­ing our baby at just six weeks.

‘Ev­ery­thing’s fine,’ said the sono­g­ra­pher at the 12-week scan.

But when we re­turned for the 20-week scan, there was a long si­lence as she moved the probe over my belly. ‘It’s a girl,’ she said, fi­nally. But then the words which fol­lowed brought our world crash­ing down.

The scan had showed our daugh­ter had a hole near the bot­tom of her spine.

Tears coursed down my cheeks as I learnt she had spina bi­fida and would be paral­ysed from the waist down.

‘We’ve got a de­ci­sion to make,’ I said in a small voice to Con­nor.

Back home, for two weeks, I scrolled web­sites to find out about the con­se­quences of spina bi­fida.

I’d al­ready named our girl Oak­ley Felic­ity and started to pre­pare our nurs­ery for her.

But with a heavy heart,

I turned to Con­nor and spoke. He nod­ded sadly in agree­ment. In Au­gust 2016, my preg­nancy was ter­mi­nated at 22 weeks.

As we re­cov­ered from the or­deal, we de­cided to re­lax and step back from try­ing for a baby straight away again.

‘If it hap­pens, it hap­pens,’ I said to Con­nor. ‘Let’s not put pres­sure on our­selves.’

But six months later, my heart rose when I saw a blue line ap­pear. Please let this baby be OK!

A scan at 16 weeks showed no prob­lems.

Re­lief flooded through me. And this time it was a boy. ‘We’ll call him Theodore,’

I said to Con­nor.

The name means a ‘gift from God’. And that’s how we viewed him – after ev­ery­thing we’d been through.

I still thought of Oak­ley ev­ery day and my heart would break.

But Theodore thrived. He was two days over­due when I had a stretch and sweep at York Hospi­tal in Oc­to­ber last year.

Back at home, con­trac­tions in­ten­si­fied and we set off for the hospi­tal again.

I was al­ready 8cm di­lated when we ar­rived and, just four hours later, I pushed him out. He weighed 7lb 10oz and had lots of dark brown hair.

Two hours later, I cra­dled him to my breast. Here was the mo­ment I’d been look­ing for­ward to for so long.

My eyes took in his lit­tle but­ton nose and gor­geous mouth and watched as he con­tent­edly be­gan to suck.

A lovely feel­ing of calm and con­tent­ment flooded over me. Breast­feed­ing can be hard, but not for Theodore and me.

Twelve hours after giv­ing birth, we were al­lowed home.

Walk­ing through the door, I headed straight for a chair.

Theodore started root­ing for the nip­ple. Our lit­tle man was ready for an­other feed!

Soon we were en­joy­ing the close­ness of our bod­ies.

I shifted Theodore on to the other breast and he latched on and be­gan to suck away again.

Fif­teen min­utes later, full as a duck, his eye lids be­gan to fall and soon he was fast asleep.

‘I’m so glad I could breast­feed,’ I said to Con­nor.

We had a few visi­tors the next day – I dis­creetly breast­fed Theodore up in my bed­room. But by 6pm he wouldn’t feed. ‘Maybe he’s full al­ready,’ said Con­nor, as I moved Theodore to my other breast.

But a cou­ple of hours later, he started cry­ing and arch­ing his back.

He seemed to want to sleep, but some­thing was stop­ping him.

Fran­ti­cally, I tried ev­ery­thing I could think of.

Putting him to the breast again… lay­ing him down in his cot… rock­ing him… walk­ing and rock­ing at the same time.

But still he wouldn’t set­tle or feed, all the while cry­ing.

‘Should I try pow­dered milk?’ I won­dered.

I didn’t want to – I thought the breast­feed­ing had been go­ing well. But when we tried him on pow­dered milk, he wasn’t in­ter­ested.

By 9am on Sun­day, Theodore was still cry­ing and re­fus­ing

Our tiny boy was fight­ing for his life

For my beau­ti­ful baby boy, breast could have been death... Theodore is now 10 months old and thriv­ing

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