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When Andrea moved into her new home in Somerset, she found out she was pregnant. But when she started bleeding she didn’t tell anyone – because she was terrified she would miscarry. What was supposed to be a lovely introduction to her new life in Somerset was scary and full of unknowns – but the staff in St Michael’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) gave her hope for her little boy’s life and future.

“We’d just moved from Croydon to Somerset when we found out I was pregnant. I didn’t tell anyone because I was bleeding throughout the whole pregnancy. Every time I saw blood, I thought it was a miscarriage. It was a terrifying rollercoaster to be on. Doctors did a scan and amazingly, the baby was still okay.  

A few months later, I was back in hospital again – I’d lost so much blood I needed two blood transfusions. It turns out the bleeding was due to a blood clot in the sac with the baby. They told me it was a 50/50 chance – either my body would absorb it, or I’d miscarry Joey. 

At 14 weeks, the bleeding stopped. Things were looking up. I’d reached my 20-week scan and still, no bleeding – me and Franklin, my husband and Joey’s dad, were finally able to relax. Then, at just 25 weeks, all of a sudden, I started bleeding again. It turns out I was going into labour, so they tried to transfer me to St Michael’s NICU, where they told me very premature babies could be cared for. But before the ambulance could go anywhere, the bleeding got even heavier and I struggled to breathe – and they rushed me back into my local hospital. Joey’s heart rate was dropping rapidly – the only thing left to do was perform an emergency c-section and get him out. 

I was so scared when I found out I had to have the emergency c-section because it had all happened so fast and he was so early… My other four children were all full term with no issues, so I had no idea what to expect.

– Andrea, Joey’s mum

After my surgery, Joey was transferred to St Michael’s NICU – and I joined him there the following day. We spent the next 66 days in the unit. Franklin and I moved into Cots for Tots House – our new home for the next three months. We were so grateful to have a room just a couple of minutes from Joey’s bedside. As well as the incredible support we received from Cots for Tots and the NICU staff, my main source of comfort was my faith – and believing we were here for a reason. 

The nurses and doctors in NICU became like family. Knowing they were looking after our boy so well was such a relief for me and Franklin. We’ll never forget it. 

Joey in St Michael's NICU, Bristol.
Joey at 67 days old

We’ve now been transferred to our local hospital for the last stage of our journey – but we couldn’t leave without saying a huge thank you to the incredible staff in NICU and at Cots for Tots. No matter what was happening, seeing the unit staff never failed to cheer me up every day.  

The staff in St Michael’s NICU are all complete heroes. They have all been so amazing at taking such care of our Joey. They all began to feel like family.

– Andrea, Joey’s mum

I want to say a huge thank you to Emily, Naomi, Emma, Immie, Kerry, Elle, Steph, Amy and the many others who took care of him as if he was one of their own. We will be forever grateful to you. 

Joey is doing well – we have a few more hurdles to get through, but he’s only on a little oxygen now and with every day that passes, he gets bigger and stronger. We couldn’t be prouder of our little man.” 

Baby Joey holding his mum's hand

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