The parents of a little girl who was born at just 23 weeks and five days have praised The Sick Children’s Trust for keeping them by their baby’s hospital bedside as she fought to make it home.
Charlotte was born 16 weeks early in April 2019 and doctors predicted she wouldn’t live for more than a few hours. She was given an emergency Christening as her parents watched on helplessly, however, as night turned into day Charlotte was still breathing. The tiny girl continued to battle and despite being resuscitated and undergoing intensive treatment, at 100 days old she was allowed home for the very first time. During her treatment at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, her parents Adele and Jonathan Smith, from South Shields, were given a free place to stay at The Sick Children’s Trust’s ‘Home from Home’ Crawford House.
To mark World Prematurity Day on Tuesday 17 November, Adele and Jonathan are raising awareness about the support available to families of premature babies in hospital from The Sick Children’s Trust. The charity gives over 600 families with a baby, many who have been born premature, in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) one less thing to worry about by giving them a place to stay, free of charge just minutes from their child’s bedside. Adele said:
“Charlotte was admitted to NICU and was not expected to live for very long. We took things hour by hour, but soon days were passing and then weeks.
“Being so close to the hospital at Crawford House was a godsend as it meant we could be by Charlotte’s side at any time, day or night. Once we were called to the ward four times in the space of a few hours as Charlotte had stopped breathing and needed resuscitating. It would have been truly awful trying to get to her hospital bedside from home. Being able to be with her whenever she needed us and hold her until the early hours of the morning helped Charlotte so much because we could be close by and we were never away from her for more than a few hours.
“Despite coming home on oxygen, Charlotte is now breathing completely independently and is doing amazingly well – she has also just started to walk which is great to see. She has come so far! As she continues to meet her milestones, we will always remember the fight she put up at the start of her life and the help we received from The Sick Children’s Trust which enabled us to be there with her throughout that fight. It was such aa relief and we can’t thank the charity enough for that.”
At a time when everything is uncertain The Sick Children’s Trust gives families some stability in their day-to-day life, by supporting them with a place to stay close to their baby. Evidence shows better outcomes for babies when their mums and dads are involved in providing hands-on care while they are in hospital, as Adele and Jonathan were able to do due to having a ‘Home from Home’ at Crawford House. Jane Featherstone, Chief Executive at The Sick Children’s Trust, said:
“I’m so pleased to hear just how well Charlotte is doing since her parents left Crawford House. We know just how much having a place to stay meant to them, not only could they stay close to Charlotte, but they could have their son stay with them and also look after themselves by cooking a hot meal and having a soak in the bath after a long day in hospital.”