Rebekah had her third daughter via a caesarean. Initially, she seemed a healthy baby, but was diagnosed with intestinal atresia* after she had trouble digesting her food. She had surgery to give her a stoma and then later to re-attach the bowel.

Rebekah had her third daughter via a caesarean, she is a type 1 diabetic and was suffering from pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure) during her pregnancy. Despite the fact that scans had shown that her daughter had an echogenic bowel (a bright bowel on the ultrasound that can sometimes indicate cystic fibrosis), she was born at 34 weeks and initially seemed like a normal, healthy baby. However, she began vomiting a brown liquid after Rebekah breastfed her and was taken as an emergency to a bigger hospital. The next day she went into surgery, which made Rebekah very anxious as she didn’t know how serious it was.

Her daughter had a jejunal atresia*, a blockage in her small bowel. She was fitted with a stoma* and Rebekah was told she would have to have surgery at a later date to re-attach the bowel. Whilst recovering from the second operation to rejoin her intestines, her daughter contracted meningitis at 2 weeks old and was in a high dependency unit for about 65 days. Rebekah and her husband lived an hour away, and drove down to see her every evening which was very tiring. Rebekah rarely got to see the surgeons or doctors as they did their ward rounds in the morning, so she had to call the hospital to get them to answer her questions. She found communication with them difficult and she would sometimes have to wait a few days before the doctors returned her calls.

During her daughter’s stay in hospital, Rebekah received a lot of support from family and friends, who helped look after her other two children. Eventually, she was able to bring her daughter home aged 3 months.

Rebekah’s advice to parents is to remember that there’s an end and to try and not let your mind run away with you because there’s no point in worrying about what hasn’t happened yet.

* Intestinal Atresia (Duodenal, Jejunal, Ileal or Colonic Atresia)
The term atresia refers to the situation when a baby is born with a blockage in the intestines. This may be a narrowing or a complete obstruction. The blockage may be single or multiple. Three areas of the small bowel may be affected: the duodenum, jejunum or the ileum. When the large intestine is blocked, this is known as colonic atresia.

* Stoma
Surgeons may divide the bowel in an operation and bring the two ends out on to the tummy wall. This is usually a temporary situation to help the intestines or bowel rest and heal.
Faeces (poo) passes into a bag attached to the outside of the body.

Rebekah was very frustrated at the poor communication while her daughter was in hospital.

Rebekah would have liked more information, and wished she had had a conversation with the surgeon who could have given her some medical terms that she could then go and look up.

Rebekah said that is important not to let your mind run away with you. Stay calm, it won’st last forever.

Rebekah was driving up to see her daughter in hospital in her local city every evening, which she thought cost about £50 for a round trip. She felt others who couldn’st afford that wouldn’st be able to see their baby.

Communication was absolutely vital to Rebekah when her daughter was in hospital.

Rebekah didn’st feel as though doctors appreciated what a mammoth ask it was to request to meet at 8am. They seemed to assume parents just lived down the road.

Rebekah’s daughter had a jejunal atresia and the surgeon said he would have to wait and see how much of her intestine would need to be removed.

Rebekah was furious because a miscommunication meant that she waited hours after her daughter’s surgery to be reassured she was OK.

Rebekah tried to keep things as normal as possible for her two older daughters, who were only toddlers. But they were still very unsettled at bedtime when she first came home from hospital.

Rebekah explained how nurses were central to communication between parents and doctors.

Rebekah said Facebook was a great way to keep friends and family up to date with her daughter’s progress.

Everything was perfect with Rebekah’s third daughter until she started vomiting green bile.

Rebekah had a caesarean so couldn’st follow her daughter to the specialist hospital, where she was sent straight into surgery.

Rebekah’s daughter was in hospital for weeks; adrenalin and going into overdrive’s got her through. Her husband was more emotional.

Rebekah did manage to see her daughter before her operation. It meant a lot that she was able to see her before her surgery.