Well, week 12 was a mixed bag, starting out on a high with Murdo enjoying his time in the TummyTub, smiling a lot and taking more notice of everything around him, but latterly descending into a stay at the Children’s Ward at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness.
Unfortunately, hospitals have been a fairly recurring theme in the life of little Murdo. Kirsty went into labour four weeks early, meaning that he was born in Inverness, rather than in Wick where we live. This was due to a lack of consultant paediatric support at Caithness General Hospital. All pregnant women in Caithness are monitored to ensure any high-risk pregnancies are referred to Raigmore to mitigate any risk to the baby and mother. Right up until the time Kirsty went into labour all signals were green, meaning Murdo, all going to plan, would’ve been born in Wick.
Then, after a short time at home after spending a week at Raigmore to treat the jaundice and low blood sugar levels that’s common in early babies, Murdo developed a inguinal hernia, resulting in a late night trip, by ambulance, to Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital, where he received a bilateral hernia operation.
Murdo’s Latest Hospital Jaunt
Murdo’s third (and hopefully last) hospital trip happened last Tuesday evening just after dinner.
I’d taken him upstairs to change his nappy and he spat a bit of sick on my shirt. I noticed it was a bit brown — different — but I thought it may have just been something to do with the gripe water he’d had the night before. We also noticed though that his poop was a slightly different colour — Kirsty mentioned that it had been a bit different earlier in the day, too. He seemed fine though, happy and smiling away as he’d been doing all week while taking notice of us and our movements. He didn’t have a temperature either.
We had just finished dinner when he coughed up a lump of spit full of blood. Needless to say this caused a bit of alarm. We called NHS 24, they took a load of details and we were eventually called by a member of staff at Caithness General who told us to bring him straight in.
When we arrived we met a Dr Macintyre, a really nice, calm doctor who immediately put us at relative ease. He checked all Murdo’s vitals including blood oxygen saturation — everything was fine. The next move was for him to contact the consultant paediatrician at Raigmore. He did warn us that we may have to take Murdo down that night, as they’d probably like to see him as soon as possible — he was right, they did, and we drove to Inverness and arrived two hours later at 23:00.
It’s a bit of a nuisance having to travel that far with a baby, but unlike the first time we landed at Raigmore with Kirsty in labour — we were prepared, and also we had the car, so wouldn’t need to arrange for family to come and pick us up afterwards. But more importantly, Inverness is a lot closer to home than Aberdeen was the last time we visited hospital!
Raigmore Children’s Ward & MacDonald House
When Murdo was born I couldn’t help praise the professionalism and patience of the staff in the maternity ward at Raigmore, and I can now extend the same praise to the staff of Raigmore’s children’s ward. They’re immensely friendly with an easygoing, but professional manner — and that’s just what’s needed when you’re there because your 11 week baby has been coughing up blood!
When we arrived on the ward we were taken to a treatment room and Murdo went through all the basic obs: temperature, weight, pulse and looking for dreaded rashes. Those were all good and Murdo was hungry, which as far as I’m concerned, is always a good sign, too!
From what we’d read online (I know, mostly a mistake) the possible causes of blood in baby sick are coughing rupturing little blood vessels in their throat, and the other is when Mum is breast feeding and has a small cut on her nipple, meaning that the baby is ingesting some blood every time he feeds. The doctor was convinced the latter was the most likely explanation and told us we’d be kept in overnight, with a recliner chair at Murdo’s cot for Kirsty as she’d be feeding him, and also a double room in the hospital’s patient accommodation at MacDonald House.
When Murdo was born I stayed at Kyle Court, a lovely little accommodation block on the grounds of Raigmore, but MacDonald House is a separated accommodation block within the actual hospital, and right next door to the children’s ward. You get a green wrist band for security which allows you access to the ward. It’s a fantastic facility with spacious rooms, huge ensuite bathrooms and a lounge with free tea and coffee. If you’re staying there you also get your food in the hospital canteen at the same price as hospital staff are charged. I thought it was brilliant.
Eventually, and after some consultation with the breast feeding nurse, the doctors confirmed that Murdo was fine, and we were discharged. We went for a look to Mothercare then headed home to Wick — the end of another undesirable adventure, with a happy outcome.
Some photos from week 12
As you can see, Murdo is a happy little chap :)