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Baby Adam


3 Aug 2019, 8:04 a.m.

It was at their 13-week scan, Sara and Shaun received the news that would shatter their excitement at becoming first-time parents.

They were told their baby had a rare condition and they should terminate the pregnancy. What were they to do now? They couldn’t give up on their little man, could they? Their baby Adam had Prune Belly Syndrome, a rare condition meaning his stomach muscles were missing and his bladder was abnormal. But Sara and Shaun were determined not to give up on their baby.

Yet the struggle wasn’t over. Adam’s bladder was unable to drain and he urgently needed surgery whilst still in the womb. 18 weeks in, Sara and Shaun were referred to St Michael’s Hospital. Needing their specialist care, they made the long journey from their home in Cornwall fearful of what was to come.

Adam’s surgery to fit a shunt in his bladder to help it to drain was a success. For a happy four weeks, Sara and Shaun could begin to enjoy their pregnancy but the joy was shortlived; the shunt failed and they soon found themselves back in Bristol for a second attempt.

After reliving the pain and stress of surgery, Sara and Shaun returned to their home in Cornwall but almost immediately they were rushed to their local hospital after Sara’s waters broke at 27 weeks. With everything she had been through already, Sara now had to face delivering her baby boy early – would he be ok? Sara was given magnesium to protect Adam’s brain and a steroid injection to help his lungs develop.

Adam - NICU patient

Sara and Shaun could hardly believe it when they finally laid eyes on their baby boy but unfortunately, he was soon whisked away to St Michael’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. From his feet turning inwards to underdeveloped kidneys, lungs and a brain defect, Adam was suffering from a variety of conditions and in a very serious way.

After an agonising night, Sara and Shaun travelled to Bristol to be by Adam’s side. It was frightening to see his tiny body wired up to drips and ventilators but they knew he was in the safest place.

Scared, tired and miles from home Sara and Shaun found comfort at Cots for Tots House. Meeting other mums and dads going through similarly tough times made life that little bit easier.

“I was so grateful for Cots for Tots House and will always remember Anne and Jan for their kindness.”


Meanwhile, Adam endured what seemed an endless amount of procedures; from an operation on his bladder to countless blood transfusions and a tube inserted into his nose. But as they accompanied him back to Cornwall a month later, Sara and Shaun knew it had all been worth it. They were finally back home with their little one – a point Sara thought they might never reach.

Adam - NICU patient

Shaun and Sara with their little fighter

“I’m so proud of him. He is such a strong little boy who fights anything that is put in his way.”


10 month old Adam is now a cheeky little chap despite having been admitted to hospital eight times throughout his short life. Sara and Shaun remain positive and are looking forward to the future.

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