A little girl who was born weighing just 590 grams is showing everyone exactly how strong she is by marking this year’s #WorldPrematurityDay.
Around this time last year, Scarlette Seals was allowed home for the very first time after spending the first seven months of her life in hospital. Born at just 24 weeks, the surviving twin was given little hope of even making it to a day old. Hours after being born, Scarlette was rushed from Grimsby to Jessop’s Wing at The Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield for lifesaving care. In Sheffield she was treated for chronic lung disease, retinopathy of prematurity and a gastric perforation. After four months, she was moved to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Sheffield Children’s Hospital where her mum, Kodie Seals, wasn’t able to stay with her daughter. Fortunately, The Sick Children’s Trust gave Kodie a free place to stay at Magnolia House while she watched her tiny baby battle in hospital. Kodie said:
“From the day she was born I was told several times that Scarlette would not make it. I didn’t know how long she’d be away from home, but I did know she had a long road to travel.
“Initially I could stay with Scarlette when she was admitted but after four months she was moved to NICU and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to stay with her but I was told by the staff on the ward about The Sick Children’s Trust. The charity runs ‘Homes from Home’ which give parents like me a place to stay for free. Without Magnolia House I would’ve had to get a train from home to the hospital during this time, taking at least two hours each way. Scarlette was on life support for a lot of her time in hospital, so it would’ve been really hard to have been away from her. Magnolia House was so close to where Scarlette was that it meant if anything was to happen, I would be able to get to her quickly.
“Having a place to stay made the situation easier and meant I could spend a lot of time with my daughter and take care of her. Not only that but it gave me the chance to make sure that I looked after myself to make sure I was strong enough to handle things that came our way which were both heartbreaking and exhausting. With The Sick Children’s Trust’s help, families can be close to their children which means they don’t have to worry about how they can get to the hospital or how they can be with their child when things go wrong. A couple of minutes’ walk is all it takes for them to be together, to comfort their child in their darkest days.”
Jane Featherstone, Chief Executive at The Sick Children’s Trust, said:
“Kodie would’ve had to spend countless hours and a lot of money travelling the 70 miles from Grimsby to Sheffield to be with Scarlette, who was critically ill for months. Having to do this would’ve caused lots of stress and upset for Kodie, who just wanted to be by her daughter’s side. By giving Kodie a place to stay, we eased some of the worries and concerns she had.”
To mark #WorldPrematurityDay on Tuesday 17 November, Kodie is raising awareness about the support available to families of premature babies in hospital from The Sick Children’s Trust.
Join in the conversation using #WorldPrematurityDay on social media.