I am very grateful for the caring, expert service that my wife, baby girl and myself received at Homerton Hospital for the birth of our little Charlotte – Stephane Malhomme.
On the night of the 26 October 2015, my wife experienced some pain and light bleeding. We were a bit surprised as she was only due end of December. So we hopped in a cab immediately, as we had been advised to do in such cases during the 3 presentations we had already attended at Homerton, in preparation for the big day.
We arrived around 1am and my wife was placed right away under monitoring. We suspected something could be wrong, but had no idea yet of the danger mother and daughter were at the time. The cardiac rate of our baby was a bit irregular, which could have been caused by plenty of things, some more benign than others. To avoid unnecessary risks, the surgeon on duty (a lovely lady whose name I now forget) met us right away for a preliminary conversation to avoid delays, should things take a turn for the worse.
She told us we would be parents this morning
That surgeon was the perfect balance of warm kindness, as well as caring confidence, and an invaluable sense of decisiveness, when it counted. We are eternally grateful to have met her. She kept monitoring my wife and our little Charlotte, and quickly came back with the release forms required “just in case”. She handled our growing alarm perfectly. Soon after, she told us that ready or not, we would be parents this morning! My wife had to undergo emergency surgery, as our surgeon could not shake off a bad intuition, that my wife’s placenta might have ruptured. She was right all along, and my wife had been haemorrhaging blood, by the time the surgery went ahead, she had lost over two litres of blood.
Charlotte contracted NEC
Our girl was born almost two months premature, and somewhat deprived of blood at birth. She was weakened and needed constant attention, which she received around the clock. Unfortunately, a possible consequence of her tough arrival in this world, she also contracted NEC about two weeks later. It is a lethal bacterial infection that attacks the gastro-intestinal lining of new born babies.
Most staff and consultants were amazing, but I would like to single out Dr S, who very early on spotted that our baby had gone a bit limp, a possible sign of trouble. Thanks to her Charlotte was rightly diagnosed at the outset, mitigating the damage caused by the infection. What a sense of duty and attention! Another person that we will never forget. Another one who might have saved our baby. That’s two! Finally, I would also like to include to our accolades, Dr A. Just like Dr S, Dr A never spared a moment to inform us, and occasionally support us emotionally when we were distraught by the sight of our baby covered in cables, facing an uncertain future. The nurses were also great. Caring, present, available.
She is now strong as an ox
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Charlotte is now strong as an ox, eating and chirping away all day. Occasionally bellowing. We are very happy. She also went recently to Great Ormond Street Hospital, to make sure that her initial tachycardia had subsided which seems to be the case. We are still waiting for the final clear, but it was, once again, a case of making 100% sure all was good. It would be easy for us to say something hackneyed and self-serving such as “See!? See how strong the genes are in (insert our family names here)?” but we know all too well that without the quality of care she received at Homerton particularly, she might not be cooing at the cat right behind me, as I write these lines. We would like to extend a sincere, lasting, and profound thank you to all the staff at Homerton Hospital and the NHS in general.
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