Emma's cot from the ward was brought down to transport her back to the ward. It was a small cot for small babies. When Nurse M saw it she got cross with the porter, she said something funny about a big grown-up Princess needed a big-girls cot, and she sent him off with a flea in his ear to get a bigger cot! When he returned Emma was transferred to the cot, Nurse M gave us both a hug, and wished us well, and we went back up to the top floor. Sister T was there to settle Emma in. She mentioned suctioning again, and said that she would soon have me & Andy doing it. I must have looked horrified, and she said it would be ok, and not to panic. She also mentioned that they had some literature about trachs and she would fish it out for me.
The little girl in the room had been joined by her Mother, a small beautiful American lady. She smiled, but her husband still looked asthough he was in deep shock.
The time passed slowly, Emma slept. Every now and again her breathing would get noisier, and her oxygen levels would drop, heart-rate would go up, and then the alarms would go off. A nurse would appear and suction Emma. She would put disposable gloves on, open a catheter packet and attach the nozzle of a tube which was attached to the wall. She would turn the machine to the right setting, number 6, and remove the catheter from the cover, and then slide the catheter just under three inches into the trach tube, put her finger over a hole on the nozzle to make a vacuum, just like a hoover. This would suck the secretions out of Emma's throat. Emma's body was making natural secretions,and extra ones to try to expel the artificial tube that had been inserted into her neck. The Emma would visibly relax, and drop off back to sleep.
Her neck looked so sore. There were seven stitches around the tube, thick black stitches eating into her tiny neck. After lunch Sister T came in to suction, and said "Your turn Mum." I felt sick, but I did it. Afterwards Sister T got Emma out of the cot for me to feed her, and I felt asthough she was still mine. Sister T was amazed to see her feed, and a junior nurse passing through the room smiled at me and said "Well I never!" The next time Emma needed suctioning Andy did it. We were closely supervised, and slowly our confidence built.
As evening came, Andy had to go home and I settled down for the night. The Night Sister came in and asked where Emma was going to sleep tonight. I said I thought she would be better in the cot. I was worried about hurting her, and squashing her. The Sister pulled up a chair, and explained to me that Emma needed me now, she needed things to be normal, she needed to be reassured. She needed to sleep in my arms, like she always had. She said if I wanted to she would get a nurse to sit at the bottom of my bed and watch that I didn't hurt Emma. I said I would try. The monitor wires and oxygen were trailed across the room, and Emma was placed in the camp bed with me. When she needed suctioning, a nurse would take her out of my arms and take her to the cot to suction her, and then bring her back to me. At sometime Sister was there, and she told me I would have to suction her the following night, that the sooner I got used to it the better. I think it was every half an hour.
The night passed in a blur. I was woken by the smell of toast, and Sister brought me a slice, to congratulate me on getting through the first night! As I came back from the bathroom I heard a familiar noise, another suction machine coming from another room. I asked the Nurse who was sat with Emma if there were other babies here with trachs, there were two on the ward, in the rooms either side of our room.