Lucy’s Story

It’s a moment we won’t ever forget. We took our 8 week old daughter Lucy to A and E because she looked grey and limp. She had been born 8 weeks prematurely, and had a cough and cold for 5 days, and she was getting worse. She was admitted to Chelsea A & E, and just half an hour later we were in a life threatening situation. Our daughter was having severe apnoea’s of up to 60 seconds. Out of nowhere the doctors and nurses appeared and we were asked to leave whilst they took charge. The doctors decided that Lucy would need to be intubated, so that they could control her breathing. Once she was stable they decided that she would need to be transferred to an intensive care unit at St Mary’s by CATs ambulance. Our tiny little daughter was put into what looked like a space shuttle to transport her to A & E. I couldn’t go in it with her; I thought she was going to die.

Lucy satwellAt St Mary’s PICU the doctors explained that Lucy was seriously ill and how they would look after her. My husband and I had to learn fast, we had never been in an intensive care unit and we didn’t know what a ventilator was. The doctors were fantastic at explaining everything. Lucy was intubated and sedated. For a nightmare 3 days she got worse and worse. The x-rays of her lungs showed she had a severe case of bronchiolitis from 2 viruses, the rhinovirus and the human meta neuron virus. Every time the x-ray was taken her lungs looked worse. The doctors kept checking her bloods, and taking blood samples. We couldn’t pick up our precious daughter; she laid flat and was lifeless covered in tubes. The sedation had made her puffy; she didn’t look like the Lucy we knew. It felt like each day there was more bad news. Lucy would need to be moved on to a different ventilator, she would need a blood transfusion, she would need a central line put in and so on. The doctors and nurses were amazing all of the time, taking care of Lucy, and explaining what was going on to us. We worried and worried. Was she going to make it?

On Easter Day the doctors had good news for us, the x-ray showed that her lungs were getting better, Lucy was turning the corner. They tried to move her off the oscillating ventilator, but unfortunately she couldn’t cope. The next day they tried again and it worked, then it was a matter of weaning her off the oxygen. Eventually she was transferred back to Chelsea and Westminster where we spent another 5 days getting her back to feeding normally and sleeping normally. When she came out of the sedation she was so jittery and distressed. She needed to be held for 3 days and 3 nights, it was as if holding her made some of the pain go away. Eventually she was discharged.

At home, we tried to get her back on regular milk and regular sleeps, but she still seemed to cry more than a normal baby. Eventually I took her to see an osteopath who helped to relax her muscles and realign her. It was amazing to see her getting better.

I was petrified when she came home that she would pick up another bug from her big brothers. I kept her out of public places, I kept her away from her brothers when they had bugs. Each day she grew bigger and stronger.

Lucy is now a healthy, happy and chatty little 3 year old. She loves ballet, playing with her brothers who adore her, seeing her friends, and reading books. The only scars she has from the ordeal are the little pinpricks from the blood samples.

What got us through the whole ordeal were the amazing doctors and nurses, we knew she was in the best hands possible and they would do everything possible to help her to live, and they did. Thank you to everyone who saved her.