I met my future husband in 2005 while I was working as a Paediatric nurse. I loved looking after little babies and after we got married we wanted one of our own. Hello little crying baby boy, good bye my last 26 years of blissful sleep! My husband and I thought our family was now perfect, but soon it crumbled. Our son wasn’t quite right. He avoided eye contact, fed poorly, was very floppy and pale. At 8 weeks of age we ended up in hospital with non-existent feeding and the doctors saying something just wasn’t quite right. One comment stands out the most. “We need to check if your baby has a brain”. Not something a doctor should say to a mum and probably not something a Paediatric nurse would ever want to hear.

Before my son was 10 weeks old he was diagnosed with developmental delay, low muscle tone, failure to thrive, severe reflux and the outlook of cerebral palsy. But he did have a brain! They kicked us out with a baby requiring tube feeds saying “you’re a nurse, you’ll know what to do”. It was the worst time for us as a family, because having worked with children with feeding problems before, I was devastated and even though I was a Paediatric nurse I was terrified of taking him home again. I felt as though I failed as a mum.

The first year was spent undergoing numerous blood tests, genetic screens and brain scans. His muscle tone was low and he wasn’t reaching the usual milestones like smiling, making eye contact or rolling. The first time he looked directly at me and smiled was when he was 6 months old after his naso gastric tube was removed and a gastrostomy inserted. I will never forget that first smile, it was pure magic. But parenting became really hard from then on. I had finished maternity leave and returned to working as a Paediatric nurse.

Having my son made me start thinking about families with newborns in the community. I’d learnt so much not only while working at the hospital but also in having a child with health problems. I have a huge interest in baby sleep as I had such a rough time with my son and getting him to sleep. I remember the nights of constant leaking from his gastrostomy tube due to his overnight pump feeds and often finding his feeding tube wrapped around his neck. Unfortunately the local parent Sleep Centre couldn’t offer us assistance as my son had too many health issues and I found myself falling into a deep black sleep deprived hole. It was my local Maternal & Child Health nurses who supported me through this and had my son sleeping within a week. I wanted to share my knowledge and help other parents so I completed a post graduate course in child health to gain qualifications I needed to transfer into a career of Maternal & Child Health Nursing.

Best career move ever! My job takes me into family homes and parents put their trust in me to support them in parenting the way they want to.

My husband and I are so close, we communicate well and always have time for each other, even if we are both tired at the end of a busy day. I think what also makes my family special is that our parents got married and I thank them for first introducing me to my husband! Yes it does sound weird when I say I married my step brother!! Sadly my step mum/mother-in-law was killed in a car accident last year and my now 18 month old niece the sole survivor. Two other people were unfortunately killed as well. With all that my family has been through I don’t take anything for granted. My son’s development is going really well now. We overcame his tube feeding and oral aversion and he is eating as well as any other little boy and starting preschool next year. We now have a little daughter as well who is such a charmer and after the rough ride we had with our son I am delighted to have such a contented, thriving baby. I love my career and I appreciate that even though parenthood was such a struggle at the start for my family, it did open a door for me to help others. Work life balance and family can be struggle but I stay positive through the hard times and make sure I always find time for my family and the rare occasion for myself (spending hours on Mouths of Mums) and friends!

Posted by sonja11, 19th March 2013

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  • What has happened to Mum and Baby 6 week check-ups in some places??
    I know they are still done by some Drs. in local dr’s surgeries/medical centres.
    Surely some of the baby’s problems should have been detected then.


  • Wow what a hard position to be in. How rude of the hospital to just assume you’ll be right because you’re a nurse. Some empathy would have been nice


  • Thank you for sharing this. A very interesting read!


  • What a terrible experience, such a horrid fine for you and hubby. Good to see you’re on the up now and things are improving


  • What a journey! You’ve been through so much but, sound so positive, so strong, so amazing!


  • Haven’t been with MoMs very long so I have just read your story even though you posted it over a year ago. I got half way through and had to wipe away my tears before I could continue. I am so relieved that someone was able to help settle your baby after your life was turned upside down in every way. I’m glad the feeding problem was overcome too! I hope you are all still going strong! When you have time, maybe you could write an update : )


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