I met this incredible mum, Paige, and her 6-month-old son, Marleigh, at St. Michaels hospital a few weeks ago. Their journey from early pregnancy to where they are now has been truly awe-inspiring, and they have both been very resilient.
Paige’s pregnancy began as normal as any pregnancy should be. She was feeling nauseous, she had morning sickness, and she was completely put off certain foods. Her 12-week and 20-week scans were normal, and she was happy to find out that she was expecting a boy! Soon afterwards, her hands and feet started swelling up, and she soon developed carpel tunnel syndrome. After her doctor found that she had high blood pressure, she was admitted to hospital, and put on high doses of blood pressure medication – she ended up having to take more than 20 pills per day!
Apart from her high blood pressure, Paige felt fine. She was starting to wonder why she was even being kept at hospital. However, at 25 weeks the doctors noticed that Marleigh had stopped growing. Paige’s placenta was no longer sending Marleigh food, but it was still supplying him with oxygen. Because of this, the doctors decided to keep him in there to mature.
At 26+4 weeks, Paige developed severe gastric pain which spread to her back. She was given medication to treat heart-burn, but Paige knew that the problem was more severe than that. Her pain was unbearable, even when taking various painkillers including morphine. The next day, after having only slept for 2 hours, she was rushed to Derriford hospital in Plymouth, which is a hospital that can more easily handle pregnancies at young gestations.
A scan later showed that Marleigh was stable, but unfortunately Paige’s platelet count was extremely low, and the doctors diagnosed Paige with having HELLP syndrome. Twenty minutes later, she was rushed into the high dependency room for an emergency c-section. Doctors and nurses flooded the room to ensure that Paige and Marleigh were both cared for. The doctors gave Paige multiple cannulas where she was given magnesium and blood pressure medication. At this point, her blood pressure was 240/98 and it needed to go down to 160/100 before she could enter theatre.
Paige was feeling so frightened at this point, but soon, fortunately enough, Marleigh arrived safely, and was taken to NICU.
Marleigh was diagnosed with having Pierre Robin sequence, which caused him to have an abnormal airway. Because of this, for fourteen hours, he required a makeshift breathing mask, as he was not able to tolerate CPAP. Paige felt very grateful for the nurses there. Paige and Marleigh were transferred to their local hospital in Truro, where they stayed for 2 weeks before needing to be transferred to St. Michaels hospital where Marleigh has been given a bit of extra support.
Paige and Marleigh have been a super Mum and Son duo and have been so amazing to deal with all the difficult issues facing their health. Paige says that one of the most difficult things that she has to deal with is having to make big decisions about Marleigh’s health. She also says that she feels heartbroken whenever the emergency alarm goes off for Marleigh and the doctors and nurses rush around him.
One thing that makes Paige feel happy is seeing him smile and play, and watch his health improve day by day. She is very thankful for the support that she has been given by the nurses at NICU, but also from her mum and her partner.
Some advice that she would give to other mums in a similar situation is: “Try to keep as calm as you can and also make sure you get some rest.“