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'We're so grateful to Gloucestershire NHS staff after the birth of little Mia'

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: February 16, 2014

  • Phil with his wife Marti and daughter Mia

  • Phil and Mia

  • Phil, Marti and Mia in the Delivery Suite at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital

  • Mia moments after her birth

  • Mia plays up for a photoshoot

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There was last-minute drama as the wife of Echo news editor Phil Norris was giving birth at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.

But, it all turned out fine with the birth of his healthy daughter Mia.

Here, Phil relives the highs and lows of the day and pays tribute to the professionalism of NHS staff who provided expert care to his wife, Marti.

ONE minute there was my wife Marti, myself and midwife Alison in the Delivery Suite at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.

Our baby was about to be born, and after a slightly troubling pregnancy, we were all ready to greet our son or daughter.

But then, our baby’s heartbeat started to cause concern, and after almost five hours of exhausting and painful labour, Marti was told she would need a Caesarean section.

It seemed our child – the sex of which we did not yet know – was reluctant to enter the world and the midwife was getting worried as the baby’s distress grew.

So the three of us in the room suddenly turned into at least 11 as doctors and nurses piled in to prepare Marti for emergency surgery involving a general anaesthetic.

An alarm was sounding in the room and I heard words such as ‘Category one’ as I found myself in what seemed like a scene from a hospital drama on television.

It was a scary time as a low platelet count in her blood meant Marti was at risk of bleeding and she was unable to have a local anaesthetic.

I was worried for Marti, for our unborn child, and I didn’t know where to put myself as the room filled up with doctors, nurses and other medical care staff.

But, to our eternal gratitude, we were in the safest of NHS hands.

Doctor Jonathan Frost quickly assessed Marti’s condition and saw that our baby had got into a better position.

And with all the drama going on around him, Dr Frost urged Marti to push through two more contractions and we discovered we were parents to a beautiful girl.

Mia (a name we had chosen long before Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall announced the name of their daughter) was put quickly on to Marti’s chest, before being weighed (6lbs 10oz), checked, and given back to us.

It was an incredibly emotional moment as relief mixed with joy and overwhelming gratitude to the staff at GRH.

Our baby had arrived two days early and had meant a quick dash from our home in Up Hatherley, Cheltenham, to the Gloucester hospital.

Marti had gone into labour while I was at work, taking us both by surprise.

Although the pregnancy had been in many ways a good one (no morning sickness, no sleepless nights), Marti’s low platelet count had caused us concern.

It meant that her blood would be less likely to clot and there was an increased risk of haemorrhaging.

During her pregnancy, Marti, 35, had to have regular blood checks and was told she would not be able to have an epidural for pain relief and if she needed a Caesarean section, there would be no local anaesthetic and she would have to be completely knocked-out.

We were also told that we could not have our baby at Cheltenham General Hospital’s midwife-led birth unit because of the likely need of medical intervention if things didn’t not go perfectly well.

During the final three months of her pregnancy we were seen by dozens of National Health Service staff.

There were regular visits to our midwife at Leckhampton Surgery and visits to Cheltenham for Marti’s bloods to be taken.

The bump was measured, the baby scanned, consultants kept an eye on her progress and we had to see a haematologist for further blood tests.

And without exception, we were treated with professionalism, kindness, humour, and human decency.

When issues were flagged up – there were concerns about our baby’s slightly swollen kidney and lower levels of amniotic fluid which were eventually dispelled – we always felt informed and reassured.

I have no idea what the combined cost of all those staff would be if you added up all the hours we spent in their care – not to mention all the equipment used.

And the care continued during and after Mia’s birth.

Marti stayed in overnight at GRH (as is routine) and there were midwives on hand throughout the night to reassure and offer advice.

There were also follow-up visits by midwives and a final weigh-in for Mia at Cheltenham before we were officially discharged.

Looking back, the worries of the pregnancy are fading as we look after our two-and-a-half week old Mia.

But both of us know, every time we look back on her birth, it will be with overwhelming gratitude to the wonderful staff who helped bring Mia into our lives.

Phil and Marti’s tips for new parents.

Although Phil and Marti are no experts, they do have some advice for parents-to-be.

1) Don’t be too pleased that your newborn sleeps so much in the first couple of days after birth. Newborns will not initially let you know they are hungry, so it’s important to make sure they are getting enough food by waking them and feeding them.

Mia lost a bit too much weight after birth, but valuable help from midwives visiting them at home helped boost her weight in the following few days.

2) Don’t be afraid to ask. It may sound stupid to you, but any concerns ask the experts. Phil and Marti made calls to midwives at Cheltenham General Hospital in the early hours of the first few days for advice on crying, feeding and the umbilical cord.

3) Monitor nappies. They are a vital guide to your baby’s health and the yuck factor quickly disappears when you know how vital full nappies are!

4) Beware of internet forums. They can make you unnecessarily worried. Check official sites, but with any concerns, ring your midwife.

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