Like any preganant woman, I was all prepared. I had endless bags of clothes, some new, some second hand, hundreds of nappies in and a cupboard full of wipes. I had planned to breastfeed my son but had bottles and a microwave steraliser ready for when I wanted to express milk.
My son was born just 2 days late, and I successfully breastfed for the first 5 days of this life. Over a few hours pains, like afterpains, gradually got worse. It came to the point where I was bent over in agony – begging my boyfriend to help me. An ambulance was called but with the bad weather conditions – a foot of snow outside my house – it took a while to get to me. It felt like a lifetime.
As I lay in pain, a million things went through my head, my worst fear was that something hadnt came out of me and they would have to cut me open. You see on the morning on my sons birth, I woke covered in blood and was rushed to hospital. They suspected a ruptured placenta but as his heartbeat was still healthy, they broke my waters and allowed me to continue with a natural birth. With everything spinning in my head, my son, the pain, paramedics asking endless questions I just wanted everything to be over.. After spending a few hours in hospital I was told I had a Womb Infection and I should be kept in, I begged the Doctor to let me home and she finally agreed on the condition that I took the antibiotics and pain relief pills and if I hadnt felt any better within 24hours to go straight back to hospital. The only downside to going home with the pills was that I would be unable to breastfeed. I felt like a failure even though I had no choice but to put my son onto formula.
After a few days I started to feel almost normal, and as I took over the responsibilities of my son again I started to notice something strange. He was on 3oz bottles, every 2-3 hours, but after taking one oz he would stop, projectile vomit it up, relax and take the remainder of the bottle.. I phoned the midwife, health visitor and even the doctor and I was told as long as he kept the last 2 oz down there was not a problem, he would not become ill.
The snow was so bad over my sons first few days that the midwife only managed out once, desperate to leave again and he was two weeks old before the health visitor was able to come out to see us. On her first visit she weighed my son and upon looking at his red book asked where his weight had been recorded from the midwife visit and was shocked when I told her he had not been weighed since birth. At two weeks old my son weighed just a couple oz more than at birth but still nobody seemed concered about his constant sickness.
When he was 3 weeks old, I left our family home to stay with my mum for a week or so to help me out. After a couple of days I noticed that he had not been sick during his feeds but thought whatever it was he must have grown out of it.
It wasnt until I came back home that it clicked what had been causing my sons extreme sickness. The first bottle I gave him – one I had washed and put in my microwave steraliser, followed the steralising instructions exactly, then filled with formula milk and fed to my son, made him projectile once again. I wondered, the microwave? could it be? My mum didnt have a microwave steraliser, she insisted on “the old fashioned method” of cold water steralising tablets and he hadnt been sick once with those bottles. From that moment on, I stopped using my steraliser, went to the shop and bought cold water tablets. My son has not projectile vomited since.
You may think its just fluke, maybe just my son. Thats what I thought until 3 months later when a friend of mine gave birth. I visited her a few days later and whilst feeding her little girl she warned me, that she may projectile vomit on me. I laughed and said it didnt bother me, after all I had been in her position. Later that day I was in her kitchen, when I noticed sitting next to the microwave, a steraliser very similar to the one I had used. I asked her if she had considered the steraliser in her daughters sickness, she said she presumed it was acid reflux, as suggested by her midwife. She stopped using the steraliser, just to see if it would have an effect, and guess what? It did. Her little girl has not projectile vomited since that day.
I have since bought a new microwave and in tiny writing, in the instructions guide it tells you not to use a microwave to steralise babies bottles as it can be harmful. Why is this not made more public? Why are microwave steralisers still available to buy?