Amber Hughes had an inkling that her fourth child — whom she named Olly — was going to be different. Her water broke 28 weeks into the gestation period. Hughes went into labour 16 days later and was rushed into the operating theatre in June 2015, when signs of infection in her unborn baby appeared. The doctors at Leicester Royal Infirmary decided a caeserean section to be the best available option, and proceeded to endow her with a scar that wasn’t necessary in the first place.
“I was awake when they cut me open and could see Daniel’s (her husband) baffled reaction when there was no baby there,” the 21-year-old mother recalled. “It was horrific. I was expecting my bundle of joy to be passed to me, but instead I watched panic spread over doctors’ faces,” she told the Daily Mail.
“For 2 whole minutes they were truly baffled, until they heard little cries coming from my lap and pulled up the sheet to find Olly lying in between my legs,” she explains. Hughes said she was “literally going into a meltdown,” thinking her baby couldn’t have just “disappeared”. It was so surreal that she wondered if she was hallucinating due to the drugs pumped into her. “Not only was I cut open unnecessarily, but my poor baby was under a sheet alone,” she rues.
The doctor simply stated that Olly had already begun his descent down the birth canal as she was cut open and brushed it off as “odd”. A furious Hughes said it was “ludicrous”. “They lost my baby for 2 minutes,” she said.
She received no formal apology. However, Elaine Broughton, head of midwifery for Leicester’s Hospitals released the following statement, “We were really very worried about Amber and her baby as there were signs of infection and her waters had broken quite some time ago — yet the delivery didn’t appear to be progressing. The decision to carry out an emergency caesarean is never taken lightly, but we thought it was for the best in this case. Clearly, between the decision to operate being taken and Amber’s arrival in [the operating room], mother nature had once again taken over. We’re looking at the chain of events in detail and will share our findings with the parents. We’re sorry that this happened but glad that mum and baby are doing well.”
Hughes will still file a complaint against the hospital. “I’m thankful my baby is okay, but we’ll never be able to forget the day the doctors lost our baby,” she emphasised.
Little Olly weighed 1.5kg at birth, and was discharged after 5 weeks along with his mum. Today, Olly is as healthy as any other infant of his age.