CLASS TOP OF THE
Teacher Helen had some life saving homework...
Marmite spread on melon? Fish sauce in my porridge?! Not a bit of it. My pregnancy craving was no-nonsense: bacon, cremated black and by the bucket-load!
‘Ah that’s the stuff,’ I beamed as my hubby Steven, 36, plonked my charred dinner in front of me.
‘Just how you like it,’ he smiled as the burnt, greasy pile of slithers glistened up at me.
Frankly, it was the highlight of my day – since I’d gone on maternity leave from my job as a secondary school teacher, I’d been bored stiff at home.
So when a fellow teacher, Amy, suggested going on a first aid course, I jumped at the chance.
She’d just had a baby, while I was 37 weeks gone.
‘You never know when it will come in handy,’ she said, earnestly.
I suppose she was right, but as a teacher, I was more used to packing poorly kids off to the medical room.
In October 2017, we went to the St John Ambulance course. I sat next to Amy and her six-week-old baby, Owen, and watched as an instructor knelt over a baby dummy and performed CPR.
It didn’t seem real – surely a paramedic would do all this if there was ever a crisis?
‘I can’t think when I’ll need this,’ I whispered to Amy.
Two weeks later, baby Isaac was ready to make his entrance at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead.
Stubbornly lying sideways, he had to come out by C-section – it would have been like carrying a horizontal plank of wood through a door otherwise!
‘He’s having difficulty breathing,’ the doctor said calmly. My heart began to race. Clutching Steven, I watched helplessly as 6lb 2oz Isaac, was whisked away to the special care baby unit.
‘I’m sure it’s nothing,’ Steven tried to reassure me, but his pale face didn’t lie.
A nurse said Isaac had fluid on his lungs and low blood sugar levels.
It wasn’t for another four and a half hours that I met my son.
‘Hello,’ I whispered, stroking his tiny fingers.
On oxygen for 14 hours, Isaac then stayed in the unit for a week.
Fully recovered, we took him home in December and showed him off to the family.
‘Let’s have a break, just us three,’ I said to Steven, so we booked a Hoseasons holiday lodge in January.
Isaac was checked over by a doctor and two weeks later, we set off for Thanet Well, in the Lake District.
He had the sniffles, but two nights in, he developed a cough.
Me and Steven were up all night trying to soothe him, so we decided to go home and take him to the doctor.
I strapped Isaac into his car seat and settled myself in beside him, ready for the two-hour journey.
‘I’ll do a final sweep,’ said Steven, disappearing inside.
Isaac started to cry, so I spun the seat round.
‘There, there…’ I began. Suddenly panic gripped. His wee face was going blue! ‘Call an ambulance,’ I yelled. Right, that first aid course,
I thought, trying to stay calm. I tried to remember what the instructor said, above the heavy thud-thud-thud of my heart.
Oh yes, two fingers to the sternum, and press. I couldn’t do it properly, so I unbuckled him.
‘Get him inside and onto the table,’ I said to Steven. He bundled our baby back into the lodge.
‘Here,’ I barked, pointing. ‘Two fingers there.’
I took charge of the phone, shaking too much to do the CPR myself.
‘Your mouth over Isaac’s nose and mouth,’ I said.
Still blue… Still not breathing… Steven blew into Isaac, again and again.
Then… his little chest raised up by itself. He was breathing! Mine and Steven’s eyes locked. We’d saved our baby’s life! Colour flushed back into Isaac’s face.
He’d stopped breathing for under a minute.
Ten minutes later, paramedics arrived and Isaac was crying and whimpering.
Then I heard the whirring blades of an air ambulance as it landed in the field nearby.
‘Mummy’s here,’ I soothed, as the helicopter took us into the skies. Steven followed in the car. Doctors at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle, told us Isaac had bronchiolitis, swelling his tiny airways.
But after eight days of care he was back at home.
He’s one now. And he’s got the most joyfully wide smile.
‘It’s like the helicopter you went up in,’ I coo as he plays with his Toot Toot toy ’copter.
Not that he cares! He’s too interested trying to touch the telly screen likes it’s an ipad. I can’t imagine life without him. Thank goodness I went on that first aid course. I’d urge any mum to sign up to one now!
Steven and me love our boy Isaac’s big smile
I can’t imagine life without my son
Isaac spent a week in hospital