After losing Scarlette’s twin at 16 weeks pregnant, I couldn’t imagine losing her too.
From the day she was born I was told several times that she would not make it. Having been born at just 24 weeks and three days, Scarlette weighed a tiny 590 grams. Her birth was so unexpected that I didn’t know how to feel as it all happened so quickly, but what I was sure of was that we needed to do everything and anything to give her a chance of survival.
Soon after she was born, the doctors told me that I could keep Scarlette with me in Grimsby and let her go, or she could be rushed to Sheffield Children’s Hospital to see if they could save her life.
I didn’t get to see Scarlette until she was two days old because I was too unwell to be transferred to Sheffield’s maternity wing. Having two days apart had an impact on the way me and Scarlette connected at first. I had this horrible feeling that she wasn’t mine.
This feeling could’ve grown worse as Scarlette spent seven months in hospital before she came home. Thankfully there were a few things that helped make this better. One of which was being given a place to stay by The Sick Children’s Trust which was close to Scarlette’s bedside and meant I never had to leave her.
Initially I could stay with Scarlette when she was admitted but after four months she was moved to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to stay with her. However, I was told by the staff on the ward about The Sick Children’s Trust and was put on a waiting list for a room.
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 had really bad breathing problems and was on life support for a lot longer than she should’ve been which made it hard for her to come off breathing support. During this time, 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, cooked my own food and got plenty of much needed rest to make sure I was strong enough to handle things that came our way. Which were both heart breaking 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.
It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since Scarlette was born and we started this journey together. So much of last year was spent in hospital and although Scarlette was discharged in October, she regularly goes back for treatment.
Scarlette is doing amazingly well in comparison to how doctors thought she would do. She’s now just on oxygen support and awaiting her last surgery to help her feed from a bottle.
It’s been a long road but Scarlette is doing better than ever and together we will get over any obstacles that come our way.
Kodie Seals, Scarlette’s mum