The maternity ward

Last month was World Prematurity Day, raising the awareness of premature birth, the struggles for families, and remembering the little angels who weren’t so lucky.

Those weeks in hospital when Lily attempted the Get out of Jail Free card at 28 weeks, were probably the most frightening days of my life. But after they realised my waters had broken, I was readmitted to the hospital on strict bed rest and antibiotics to avoid infection. 

As a person who wasn’t used to sitting still for 5 minutes, the only thing I was able to do was people watch. This week I remembered a few of those interesting characters who were soon to be parents, waiting on the hospital ward. It was also a strong reminder of how amazing our NHS staff are – not only do they look after us 24 hours a day, but they have to endure a whole world of personalities with it! 

Now I’m not judging but people watching was my only hobby through weeks in hospital so I thought I’d share a few with you…

1. Little Miss Energy Drink

37 weeks pregnant. Diagnosis: blood clot. Age: around 18.

She consumed 7, yes 7, cheap energy drinks in the space of the first afternoon she was there. She then proceeded to blame the nurse for keeping her in, when she should be out in the club celebrating her boyfriend’s birthday. When they told her she needed to stay in bed, she spent most of the time going in/out for cigarettes and ignoring the maximum 2 visitors rule by inviting her entire extended family in… then demanding* a private room to accommodate them!! (*she didn’t get one!)

2. Little Miss They’re-Starving-Me

36 weeks pregnant. Diagnosis: Preeclampsia. Age: around 20. 

I know pregnancy makes you want to eat for 2, but this one was eating for 10 – and then claiming to her boyfriend that she wasn’t eating as the food was so bad. She’d have a bit of everything for breakfast, then start on biscuits and snacks continuously til lunch. Then it was a jacket potato with cheese and beans, AND a filled baguette, crisps, cake, followed by several family bags of crisps and share packs of chocolate until dinner. She’d choose a full 3 course dinner from the menu, and eat it all. But she was clearly being starved, so called her boyfriend in claiming she hadn’t eaten much all day, ensuring he’d turn up with a takeaway EVERY night – full XL Pizza Hut pizza, Chinese, Indian, McDonald’s (baring in mind she’d had a 3-course meal about 30 minutes before). Then after he left following the 9pm curfew, she’d start on the Minstrels share bags again. Maybe she was hungry, and I’m not judging people’s eating habits, but this was daily for 2 weeks, and I’m pretty sure I couldn’t have coped with much more crisp rustling or munching sounds from behind the next curtain 🙂

3. Little Miss This-Isn’t-a-Private-Healthcare-Menu

36 weeks pregnant. Diagnosis: Baby’s heartbeat irregular. Age: Mid 30s. 

Well this one made it loud and clear that she preferred the menu in private health care establishments and how ‘terrible’ the choices were on offer. She was ‘only’ offered toast or cereal for breakfast, and ‘only’ salads, potato or baguette for lunch, and the 3 course meals on offer were so limited (despite there being a 3 page concertina menu with very fresh well-cooked foods on offer). She also claimed she should be discharged as she ‘felt fine and it’s only the baby’s heartbeat’. How the nurse managed to keep her cool and remind her about the importance of monitoring the baby, I’ve no idea. Thankfully for her she only needed to endure that ‘appauling menu’ for 2 days!! 

4. Little Miss My Baby Isn’t Sleeping so You’re Not Either!

Given birth. Age: Mid 30s. 

After the lights went out from the 9pm visitor curfew, she would go on the phone and shout loudly and continuously down it to anyone who happened to be at the other end. She’d then proceed to do so every time the baby woke through the night for feeding. The nurses ended up relocating her bed nearest to the nurses station to stop her doing so!

5. Little Miss We’ve Got a Head!

Diagnosis: Clearly in labour. Age: early 30s.

A very beautiful Indian lady who unfortunately couldn’t speak a word of English. She was in a bed opposite me, breathing slowly and heavily. The nurses couldn’t check how far she was without verbal permission from her/her husband. Her husband was on his way and she remained calm, lying very still and breathing heavily. By the time her husband came, he gave permission in enough time for them to see the top of a head! “We’ve got a head!!” was the shreik from behind the curtain, before the whole team made a mad dash with the bed towards the delivery suites. Baring in mind the suites were upstairs, they made it as far as the lift before the baby was born! How that lady kept so calm with just heavy breathing for so long I have no idea!

In all I can’t thank enough for our amazing NHS nurses on the hospital ward and the NICU at Leicester Royal Infirmary enough for being so amazing and supportive at such an uncertain time. Thanks to them we have the super hyper toddler we have today… and the food wasn’t half bad either 😉 

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