Etta is 7 days old ? and whilst the past week has had its fair share of ups and downs my head is beginning to be a little less fuzzy and I couldn’t imagine life without her in a crazy little family!

These past 7 days have been an absolute blur with amazing family and friends helping out TONS (baring gifts of food; taking Izzy and Tom out for tea / parties / rugby; having the 3 older kids for sleepovers etc) and Nia and I are looking forward to instilling a bit of normality and “calmness” into family life.

We had a mare on Monday when Etta lost a little too much of her birth weight and we were urgently referred for a Paediatric assessment. Seven hours and three quarters in a poxy A&E room; sitting on rock hard chairs; being seen for a total of 15 minutes (by 1 x auxiliary Nurse; 1 x Paediatric Nurse; 1 x Paediatrician and 2 x Registrars) and no natural sunlight later and Etta was finally discharged home. We’ve decided to reframe the whole experience and whilst spending that long in those conditions with a breastfeeding mummy and four day old baby is far from ideal at least Etta was discharged home the same day ?. Three days later and after another weight loss and then, thankfully, some gains Etta is chunking up!!

Our day in the paediatric wing of our local A&E waiting to find out if there was anything medically ‘wrong’ with our baby gave me a tiny snapshot into the lives of the families I come across and how important ‘mother’s instinct’ is. Whilst the team that looked after us followed *most* of the NICE guidelines the whole process from urgent referral to discharge did not appear to follow any common sense and most certainly didn’t consider Nia’s instinct.

As an expert in the typical presentation of our newborn baby, and mummy to three others, Nia knew there was nothing wrong with Etta and yet the medical model felt very much like the “experts” had to follow a clinical pathway and engage in invasive procedures (have you ever seen someone try to take blood from a newborn baby?) to, in essence, cover their backs. The Paediatrician and Paediatric Nurse both separately commented that the Jaundice “wasn’t that bad” and yet the whole process was about throwing out these clinical observations and spending a further 6 hours taking blood (twice) and waiting on ‘urgent’ results.

When I read the case histories of the children I assess for either SEN appeals or Social Communication assessments I’m horrified by the fact that the ‘mother’s instinct’ was concerns before the age of three years and yet in too many cases these concerns weren’t fully, or even partially, acted on until the gap between her child and the children in their school had widened day in day out.

I have a hell of a lot of “take aways” from our experience this week to reflect on re how I can improve the service I provide to the families I work with however, above all, it is confirmation that we must never underestimate a mother’s instinct as they are experts in their children.

How’s it being a daddy to four little ones? Well let’s just say I need to work on keeping a calm bedtime routine (excuse the mess ?)…