Millie Quickenden’s waters broke at 28 weeks pregnant but was relieved that baby Georgia wasn’t born for another five weeks. Every day that she stayed in was a bonus as it meant she would be stronger when she was born to fight everything she was about to face.
Georgia was diagnosed with a condition called Tracheo-Oesophageal Fistula (TOF) and Oesophageal Atresia (OA). This meant she was unable to swallow and she needed an urgent operation and she could be in hospital for months.
Millie and her partner Adam stayed with us in two of our ‘Homes from Home’ in London while Georgia received treatment and surgery.
Georgia is eight months old now and despite doing really well, she is susceptible to any respiratory illness, in her short life she has had already multiple hospital admissions with bronchiolitis, so right now they are taking even more extra precautions.
Millie says, “This girl is a pro at self-isolation and continues to be a strong-willed little character and we know she had a lot of fight in her for whatever comes her way.”
Here are Millie’s top tips
Adam and I walked a lot when we were in hospital, even just to go outside the hospital to get a coffee. At home I always take Georgia for a walk when I can. I also miss the gym, so I find workout apps to do on my phone, such as a 30 day squat challenge, as they only take a few minutes a day to do.
- Social media
When it’s not possible to see people, stay connected with social media. We have daily video calls with family and it’s great for Georgia to get familiar with voices and faces (even if she does now think people live in my phone)
- Take time out
Whether it’s just to have a bath or watch your favourite tv programme. This was important for us and staying at Stevenson House meant we could have some time out from the hospital to recharge and reset.
- Enjoy your comforts
Whether it’s your favourite chocolate bar, bubble bath or glass of wine
- Do things that make you feel yourself
I always get up, shower and make myself feel presentable. For me that’s doing my hair and putting on some make up, even if I’m not seeing anyone I want to feel like me.
- Realise it’s ok not to be ok
Talk, cry and accept it’s a bad day. Then start tomorrow afresh. I had days where I didn’t stop crying and felt guilty for doing so but learnt over time it was important to get it out my system and start tomorrow as new day.
- Make plans to look forward to
When we were in hospital we spoke about Georgia’s christening and first birthday and how we would celebrate key milestones.
- Make sure you get fresh air or a change of scenery
It could even just be a different room in the house. Some days Georgia and I stay upstairs until midday so then the afternoon doesn’t drag so much.
- Find small projects
Even if it’s just looking for low cost DIY ideas on websites such as Pinterest.
- Avoid googling and reading the news and social media too much
We were advised not to google Georgia’s conditions, which were Tracheo-Oesophageal Fistula (TOF) and Oesophageal Atresia (OA). which meant she was unable to swallow and hydrocephalus which is excess fluid on the brain. Instead we just use the information on the TOFS or Great Ormond Street Hospital website as this gives facts and not worse case scenarios.