14 Month Old George To Celebrate First Christmas At Home
Born nine weeks early and weighing little more than a bag of sugar, baby George is all set to celebrate this Christmas at home, after spending his very first in King’s Mill Hospital on the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). He paid a visit to staff on the unit this week to wish them a Merry Christmas and show them how much he has grown.
George, now nearly 14 months old, was born when mother Cara, from Nottinghamshire, was just 31 weeks pregnant. She said: “I was showing signs of pre-eclampsia and although I didn’t feel too unwell, I decided to go to King’s Mill Hospital to get checked out. That’s when it was confirmed that I was suffering from pre-eclampsia.”
Within hours of arriving at hospital, Cara’s condition deteriorated and it was also found that she was suffering from HELLP syndrome. This meant that if a caesarean section wasn’t carried out quickly, her blood wouldn’t clot properly during the surgery to prevent her from bleeding excessively.
It was clear that baby George would have to be delivered urgently and he was born on the evening of 31 October 2016 by emergency caesarean section.
“Within the first few hours of his life it became apparent that George was quite unwell,” said Cara. “He had been starved of nutrients in the womb due to the pre-eclampsia and he was tiny. He was diagnosed with Chronic Lung Disease and needed a ventilator to breathe for him and to keep his lungs open. He was so small and thin that you could see his little rib cage and every little intake of breath that he took.”
Struggling to breathe and needing round-the-clock ventilation, George was transferred to another local hospital. After six weeks he was able to come off the ventilator completely and so he returned to King’s Mill Hospital to continue treatment on the unit – just in time for his very first Christmas.
Cara said: “Spending my baby’s first Christmas in hospital isn’t how I imagined it to be, but the staff on the unit were amazing. They made it as nice as they possibly could for both of us, given the circumstances. There were gifts for the babies, a volunteer dressed as Santa Claus who visited us all and there were carol singers on Christmas morning. My family came to visit from Norfolk on Christmas day and we were lucky enough to be treated to lunch by a local pub, which was lovely and thoughtful.”
George was able to go home for the first time, although on oxygen, in February at four months old, and came off oxygen fully in August. He’s now doing well at home, but still sees a consultant at King’s Mill Hospital regularly to make sure he is developing well.
“We still pop in to see the staff who cared for George throughout his journey at King’s Mill Hospital – they were fantastic and became an extension of our family,” said Cara. “They made our time there so much better.”
Now, this Christmas is going to be very different as Cara and George prepare to spend it at home surrounded by family. Cara said: “I’ve always loved Christmas but this one is going to be extra special and I’ve gone all out! It’s going to be incredibly different and I really appreciate how lucky we are to be spending this one at home. We’ll be having Christmas day at our home with my partner and his two children, doing the usual family things like opening presents and playing games, just how Christmas should be.”
George and Cara visited the staff who cared for them on the unit this week. Paediatric Matron at King’s Mill Hospital, Rachel Barker, said: “It was wonderful to see George looking so happy and healthy. What a difference a year can make.
“We see many babies spending the first few weeks or months of their life on the unit and George was with us for a long time. All the staff on the unit got to know him, mum Cara, and his family very well. You do become close to the babies that you care for. George was very poorly when he was born so it’s lovely to see how much he has grown and developed and that he can have Christmas at home this year.
“I know there are parents on our unit who might be about to spend their baby’s first Christmas with us and I hope that George’s story gives them hope for the future and helps them to stay positive.”
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