Welcome Home Baby Nino: Our Birth Story

37 Comments on Welcome Home Baby Nino: Our Birth Story


At 7.22pm on Friday 5th February, Nino Adrian Maurice Doran came storming into the world weighing 7lb 5oz. With lots of dark hair and navy blue eyes (for now), he’s the most perfect specimen of a human being I’ve ever seen. And although it happens every minute of every day in every single country around the world, I still can’t quite believe that we created a human being from scratch, that we get to take him home and that he’s ours to keep for all time.


Nobody, however, said life was easy, and our incredible son has crammed far more into his 11 days on the earth than your average newborn. Five minutes after he was born – five minutes of precious, squawking, slippery, skin-on-skin cuddles – a team of paediatric nurses whisked Nino away to the intensive care unit at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital to start him on prostin, a drug to keep the hole in his heart open and to allow him enough oxygen to live. We’d known this was going to happen since he was diagnosed with Transposition of the Great Arteries at our 20 week pregnancy scan, but nothing can quite prepare you for the intensity of birth then separation, the crazy hormones rushing round your system, the love, fear and fierce protective maternal instinct you’ll feel.



Twenty minutes after Nino was born, Luke and I were allowed to join our boy, and later that night we travelled with him in the ambulance to the intensive care unit at Royal Brompton Hospital (despite the midwives’ protestations that I should really stay in overnight). By 5am he was stabilised and in a room of his own, hooked up to a million machines, with a ventilator helping him to breathe, cannulas in each arm, a drip down to his stomach and a monitor on each limb.



The following forty eight hours were a rollercoaster of medication and emotions. Our little boy came off the oxygen and was breathing by himself, only for us to be told that his saturation levels weren’t good enough and he was having a balloon septostomy – a procedure we knew about but had hoped he could avoid – within the next half hour. Less than two days old, he came through the operation like a champ and by Monday morning was wide awake and beady eyed. That evening Nino started breastfeeding – whilst still in intensive care, tubes hanging off his arms and out of his nose – with a gusto for which I’m eternally grateful to his greedy genes.


From intensive care, we moved into a less high dependency ward for the next three days, living upstairs in hospital accommodation and spending every possible minute with our beautiful baby boy. Our amazing parents kept us fed and laundered, running daily trips of home cooked lasagne, clean sheets and other treats to keep us sane and able to concentrate 100% on the most important thing. And on Friday, one week after he was born, we finally brought our baby home. He still has major open heart surgery to undergo, but it won’t be until he’s around one month old when, hopefully, he’ll be that little bit bigger and stronger.



So here we are, home at last with our adorable little love bundle and utterly smitten. At some point soon I’ll post some new recipes, but for now our waking hours (roughly twenty four of them!) are filled with cuddles and head sniffing, chubby arms and cheeks: a twilight zone of happy, snuggly, milky goodness from which I don’t want ever to emerge.


37 RESPONSES TO Welcome Home Baby Nino: Our Birth Story

  1. Marian Heelan -

    He is gorgeous!! I remember the milky, snuggle, hazy days you describe. They’re the best.

    The best of luck with the medical difficulties that lay ahead.
    and stop thinking about recipes. There’s plenty of time for that later on.

  2. anne -

    Ahhh my heart feels with such joy – and sweet memories – when I read this. Only a few months ago did I bring home my little girl, but it somehow feels like a lifetime ago.

    ENJOY each and every second of it. It is pure MAGIC. Nothing short of a miracle.

    All the best to the three of you and lots of positive vibes to Nino and his upcoming surgery 🙂

  3. Emma -

    Welcome to the world Nino! Beautiful photos and a beautiful piece of writing – it moved me to tears, happy tears for you and your new family. I haven’t posted a comment before but I follow your blog avidly and was literally just wondering this morning how you were getting on! I love your recipes too, though I think you deserve a break for a while – pictures of good-enough-to-eat-Nino will suffice for now. Congratulations Kate, wishing you all the best for what is to come x

  4. Jane -

    I’m so pleased to read you are all doing well, he looks absolutely adorable, enjoy every moment. X x

  5. Congratulations – Recipes can wait. Meanwhile enjoy your newborn and treasure every moment, sounds like he is a fighter. The early days go so quickly.

  6. Dom -

    Yay! What a beauty! Can’t wait to meet the little man. Don’t worry, I’ll bring some flapjacks… X

  7. Lynn -

    Many congratulations. What a beautiful baby. x

  8. Cerys -

    Who doesn’t love a birth story?! Huge congratulations – he looks adorable. All the best with the surgery. It sounds like you’ve got all the support needed around you too. Take it easy.

  9. Congratulations and good luck with the next stage of your life. He’s adorable.

  10. sandra -

    Aw little Nino the lion heart. And sending warm wishes to mummy and daddy too for sharing such precious memories s

  11. Rachel Lane -

    What an incredibly precious little bundle – absolutely gorgeous. My 2 are in their teens now, but I still look at them with amazement and can’t believe we made them! Good luck with everything and enjoy every second – they grow up way too fast!

  12. Biggest congratulations to you and your new family! You gave birth to a fighter! Best of luck to you in the coming days L x

  13. Massive congratulations! He is adorable and hope parents as well also! And like other commenters have said, don’t think about the recipes now! Spend all the time with your lovely baby boy! We can wait x

  14. Molly F.C. -

    I’ll echo the other sentiments.. The recipes can wait! Concentrate wholly on the blessing your baby boy is. He’s the best gift that you’ll ever be given (in my biased, mom of 3, opinion).

    Prayers coming your way from the U.S.


  15. rosie -

    Congratulations…..he is a beautiful baby.

  16. Suzanne -

    Every congratulations to you three! He is adorable. I remember those early days and that same loved-up-ness. Enjoy the beginnings of your new life and grab as much rest as you can when you can. Agree most definitely, recipes can wait, but cuddles on the other hand, now they never can.

    As always a beautiful piece of writing. – Am truly delighted for you and wishing you both all the best for Nino’s upcoming treatment.

  17. claire -

    Really beautiful. And I couldn’t help but laugh aloud at the last picture. Plenty of character there!

  18. He’s so beautiful, Kate! I can only imagine the rollercoaster of emotions you’ve been riding on. The arrival of our own little one so imminent (any day now!) I’ve been thinking of you a lot and sending my best healing thoughts and strong energy your way. I hope things continue to go smoothly for you all, enjoy those snuggles!

  19. Elizabeth -

    So happy to hear of your new arrival. Hope all goes well for little Nino in the days and months ahead. Such a joyous time, so soak up each moment. The recipes can wait for now. Congratulations!

  20. Huge congratulations, he is absolutely gorgeous! Nothing quite prepares you for that feeling when you’re allowed to take this tiny bundle home. Amazing xxx

  21. Kiran -

    Congratulations to you and your husband!

  22. Judi -

    Go Nino go! Nino was my grandpa’s name- I asked him to protect this little Nino here on earth.

  23. This FACE! He is perfection. You guys are doing such a great job already being parents to this little man. Go Nino! xx

  24. Sending healing love, blessings and prayers your way.
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful and intense life story with all of us.
    Nino is perfect!

  25. anna @ annamayeveryday -

    So many congratulations, you won’t believe how fabulous being a parent is. Well done little Nino for being so strong and brave.

  26. The Scorttish Baker -

    Welcome to the world Nino and much love to you all. X

  27. Enormous enormous congratulations! This time is utterly magical, surreal and tremendous- enjoy every single second! Xx

  28. He is just the handsomest little boy in the world +he has so much personality already. His face in that last picture is just brilliant. I’m sure Nino will go from strength to strength now he’s home and I hope you get a chance to recover too before the stress of the surgery.

  29. Lia -

    Dear Kate,
    Congratulations and lots of happiness for your little Nino and for all the family.
    Everything will be fine surgery wise and your little boy is going to grow healthy, strong and charming as he already is.
    Much love,

  30. Judy Cinerari -

    Congratulations and good luck for the future. He truly is a perfect little person.

  31. Congratulations! What a beautiful, perfect little person, and a lovely piece of writing. Hang in there through these first few weeks. It doesn’t always get easier, but it does get better (and so do you).
    Enjoy as many newborn snuggles as you can get, and don’t worry about the blog – we’ll still be here when you want to return.

  32. I’m sorry that you had to deal with such a challenging few weeks and I hope that everything has been going well since. He is so beautiful!

  33. Oh congratulations on your beautiful baby. It all sounds so very stressful for you and what a start for the poor little mite. But glad to hear all is going well – which I’ve now gathered from social media. A little late to the party I know!

  34. I’ve just read this, Kate. So so beautiful. You articulated what I can only imagine were heart thumping, lump in throat emotions. What a gorgeous, strong, sweet boy Nino is. Greedy feeding, thank goodness – I love that. Much love to your gorgeous family. Congratulations, mumma x

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