Noah13 Dec 2019, 4:49 p.m.
Last year Carly and Tony spent the Christmas holidays miles from home in Bristol, hoping and praying that their son was going to be ok.
“Thinking back to last December brings a tear to my eye. It felt like Christmas was ruined but we had to stay strong for our son Noah.
“It had all been going smoothly for my partner Carly and I until two weeks before her due date. They thought Noah was growing very quickly. A scan revealed he was 9lbs and not lying in the right position. Doctors were concerned and admitted Carly to our local hospital. After days of waiting, it was finally agreed that Carly would be induced.
“Everything seemed ok at first. Waters were broken and Noah’s head was engaged. But after a long day and a change in midwife, she noticed a drop in our little man’s heart rate. Probes were attached to his head to monitor him more closely. Just as things seemed to be going slowly, Noah moved and all of a sudden it was time.
“But as the birth progressed his heart rate dropped dangerously low. The panic button was pushed and out of nowhere, a team assembled. I felt utterly helpless. All I could do was watch on as they tried to save my boy’s life. The umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck not once but twice. It felt like it took an eternity.
“Finally, our little Noah arrived. The room was silent. Noah had a heartbeat but he wasn’t breathing. They spent a few minutes working on him and eventually he let out a little cry. I’ve never been so relieved. Immediately, he was taken to the intensive care unit. Carly and I were devastated. We had no idea what was going on or how our baby was.
“Doctors told us he needed treatment in Bristol at St Michael’s Hospital. Despite their best efforts to reassure us the worry didn’t go away. How would Noah get to Bristol for starters? Thankfully the Neonatal Emergency Stabilisation and Transport (NEST) team were on hand. It’s their job to transport critically ill babies to the nearest specialist hospital.
“We weren’t far behind Noah. When we arrived at St Michael’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, he was already wired up. It was so scary to look at him – he looked so tiny amongst all of the tubes and monitors. The team reduced the temperature of his body as part of his ‘cooling therapy,’ in an attempt to limit any brain damage caused during birth.
“It broke our hearts not being able to pick him up. All we could do was sit next to his incubator. Every time we reached out to touch him his skin was cold – it felt so unnatural. But even during our darkest moments, the NICU staff were there for us. Their constant support and reassurance guided us through.
“Having a room at Cots for Tots House meant the world to us too. Everyone was so welcoming and it truly felt like a home from home. But it didn’t stop us from thinking about our real home back in Bridgwater. Noah’s brother Kian was being cared for by his aunt. He was missing us terribly, especially his baby brother. We didn’t feel Christmassy at all but we had to try and carry on as normal for his sake.
“Slowly but surely, Noah began to improve. After an MRI scan had confirmed things were looking up, they told us we could take Noah home. It was Christmas Eve. Our happy little family would be reunited at last – it was probably the best Christmas present I’ll ever receive.
“Noah is nearly one now. Every day is a blessing seeing him grow stronger. Without the NICU team, I really don’t know where we would be. We owe them everything.”
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