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Gemma Brown: How the neonatal unit saved my daughter

“There are very few people who know the full story surrounding Esmae's birth in May 2017, but now I feel it is time to tell it. 

Esmae was born at 37+6 weeks gestation and my fiancée and I were very excited to meet her. She was born at the New Forest birth centre in Ashurst and it was at this point we discovered she was breeched.” 

A breech birth is when a baby is born bottom first instead of head first. When the breech baby's pelvis or hips deliver first, the woman's pelvis may not be large enough for the head to be delivered resulting in the baby getting stuck in the birth canal, potentially reducing the baby's oxygen supply.

“Labour was quick and there was no time except to deliver her in a breech position, rather than by caesarean section. Although Esmae delivered as per textbook, she was born with a heartbeat but was not breathing. Our guardian Angel midwife Emily Seddon breathed life into my baby for the entire 19 minute ambulance ride to the hospital. 

Emily adds: “From that moment when I realised her baby was breech, time stood still. I performed CPR on Esmae throughout the journey in the ambulance, and I was so relieved when the doors opened and the neonatal unit staff were waiting for us and said 'last round of CPR and then we'll take her to the neonatal unit.'  

Gemma continues: “The elated feeling new parents are supposed to get after having a brand new baby was instead a numb void for me and my fiancée, Scott. We were terrified, but knew she would receive the best care in Southampton. 

“A long story short, for the following 10 days Esmae was cooled to 33°C, unable to breathe on her own, put on a cocktail of painkillers, had metal probes put into her head to measure her brainwaves, and suffered from seizures. 

“During this time the incredible care we received at the hospital was second to none. We have no doubt that both Emily and the neonatal unit saved Esmae’s life.

“The nurses and doctors did everything in their power to make sure Esmae made the best progress she could and they kept me and Scott informed at every stage.

“Now one year on, she is a kind, caring and intelligent little girl who is incredibly active and playful. Esmae does still see a neurologist on a six month basis, but hopefully we can be discharged soon.”


Get involved today!

Gemma and Emily are taking on a skydive in 2019 to raise money for the Southampton Neonatal Intensive Care Unit which treats around 900 babies each year.

This unit is our charity focus for October, so please support Gemma and Emily today as they take on this new challenge. They have each set themselves a £600 target, so please donate what you can for our neonatal babies.


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