'The scariest time of my life' - mum tells of horror as newborn taken to ICU with husband barred from hospital

Stacy and Craig Brown, each with baby BlakeStacy and Craig Brown, each with baby Blake
Stacy and Craig Brown, each with baby Blake
Her husband stayed in the car park all night.

Stacy Brown, 33, was nervous before giving birth to her daughter Blake Brown on April 5.

Despite Blake being her sixth child, she cried ‘every day’ for two weeks before the due date, for fear that she or her husband would catch Covid-19 and give it to their new baby.

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“Back then we didn’t really know a lot about it, and everything was changing all the time,” she said.

Stacy brown with baby BlakeStacy brown with baby Blake
Stacy brown with baby Blake

On April 5 contractions began so suddenly that by the time she realised it was happening Ms Brown could no longer get into the car for her husband Craig, 39, to drive her the 10 minutes from Bonnyrigg to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary

An ambulance was called, but as it couldn’t get access as far as the house, it had to be parked in the car park at the end of the street where the couple live.

Ms Brown was carried to the ambulance on a stretcher, but just as it was preparing to drive to the hospital, she went into labour and Blake was delivered in the ambulance shortly after 9pm.

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Craig Brown with baby BlakeCraig Brown with baby Blake
Craig Brown with baby Blake

“It was very stressful but the two paramedics were absolutely amazing,” said Ms Brown.

Blake was brought into hospital for basic medical checks, along with both parents.

But after a few hours, at 1.30am, Mr Brown was told he had to leave due to measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Staff wanted Ms Brown to remain in hospital for 12 hours to monitor her and the baby, but she was distressed by the idea of spending the night in hospital without her husband.

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Blake BrownBlake Brown
Blake Brown

“It was horrible. I’m an anxious person so the thought of being in hospital on my own didn’t sit well with me,” she said.

Because of this her husband decided to sleep in the car in the hospital car park, so she would feel comforted at the thought of him being nearby. Care was in place for the couple’s other children.

Both parents expected mum and baby to be discharged at 9.15am, 12 hours after the birth.

But during the night Blake had difficulty breathing, and when the problem didn’t resolve itself staff took her into the NICU for monitoring.

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Deeply concerned for her baby, Ms Brown rushed to tell her husband what had happened.

He came out of the car to see her but as he was not allowed back in the hospital he had to stay on one side of a screen in the triage area, while Ms Brown stood on the other side and told him their newborn was in the NICU.

“I was absolutely sobbing,” said Ms Brown.

“But because Craig had left the hospital he wasn’t allowed to touch me. We had to talk through a screen, it was really hard.”

Ms Brown found the situation difficult to deal with, and said the trauma of the experience had a impact on her mental health for over two months after the birth.

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The next day both parents were allowed to visit Blake in the NICU.

They thought she would soon be discharged, but due to a possible infection she remained there for six days.

Ms Brown and her husband were able to see her for just an hour a day.

“It was just the worst, not being able to see her. When your baby has to be taken away like that she doesn’t feel like yours,” she said.

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Finally after six days Ms Brown was able to bring Blake home.

She is now healthy and well, and has been getting to know her siblings Skye, 15; Ellie, 14; Kerry, 11; Cooper, 9 and Jessica, 2.

Ms Brown said the experience made her realise she was ‘stronger than she thought'.

“Giving birth in the middle of a pandemic is one of the scariest yet most liberating things I’ve ever been through, and I send love to all the mums and dads who are where we were eight weeks ago," she said.

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