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The Woods Family
On the 9 December we took our little boy Lawson, who was just three weeks old, to the doctors with a swollen tummy.

Immediately, the doctor knew something wasn’t right and referred us to our local hospital the same day, where we were admitted. Over the course of the next five days different tests were performed to try and work out what the issue was. Lawson had a lot of gas in his tummy and low pulse in his legs, but nothing else was coming up which was very worrying.

Then on Saturday 14 December, Lawson stopped breathing. He started to go blue which was such a scary experience. The clinical team stabilised him and performed an echocardiogram, which uses sound waves to build up a detailed picture of your heart. This showed that Lawson had a heart condition which needed surgery.

We were told the best place for us was Great Ormond Street Hospital and the specialist Children's Acute Transport Service (CATS) team arrived at 2am to transport him down to London.

Consultants at GOSH told us Lawson had a coarctation of the aorta, which is a narrowing of the main artery which carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body. It was such a shock as nothing had been picked up at my scans during pregnancy and he seemed such a happy, healthy baby boy, just with a very big tummy!

Lawson’s heart surgery was performed on 16 December and went well, but unfortunately over the next few days his health deteriorated. He caught bronchiolitis, which is a lower respiratory tract infection, and then the deadly bowel disease necrotising enterocolitis. But he kept fighting and thankfully started to make some progress the following day.

We got in contact with the accommodation office at GOSH, as until that point, we’d been staying in emergency accommodation and hadn’t thought about where we were going to stay during his recovery. We live over 120 miles away and also have a daughter Lottie (who was only three years old at the time,) and we’d not been able to see her for nearly a week, so we needed somewhere more permanent to stay. This is where The Sick Children’s Trust, Guilford Street and House Manager Tina came into our lives. They had a room for us that day and so the following day we were able to bring Lottie down to London to be a family again.

This was the 20 December, just a few days before Christmas, so when Lottie arrived there were Christmas decorations up in the house and it was so homely and inviting that we felt more relaxed straight away. Lottie referred to it as ‘the holiday house’ which was lovely and for the rest of the time we were there, this really made us smile!

We stayed there for three weeks until the 7 January and for us as parents, this charity has been amazing. It enabled us to be together during this difficult period and also gave us a proper family Christmas. The house staff even gave us presents on Christmas day! We could never have afforded to stay in a hotel over the holidays, and to find somewhere for all of us to be together for such a long time was amazing.

The Sick Children’s Trust took a great deal of stress off us at a very stressful time and we really have a lot to thank them for.

We’re now back home and Lawson is thriving. Thank you so much to everyone who works at and supports The Sick Children’s Trust.

The Woods Family 
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