Gestation: 27 weeks plus 5
On Unit: December 2018
Harper’s mam Chelsey kindly shares her story with us.
‘I honestly can’t find the words to express my gratitude and how grateful I am to ward 35 and Tiny Lives. Harper wasn’t born at the RVI, she was born in the Queen Elizabeth hospital in Gateshead, then she was taken straight from birth to Sunderland Royal Hospital. After a week of being at Sunderland, Harper had to be blue-lighted to the RVI due to an infection in her bowel.
It was like a breath of fresh air arriving at the RVI. Although I was beyond scared I was immediately reassured that Harper was in the best place. I was informed that surgery needed to be performed to have part of her bowel taken away due to NEC. Meeting the surgeon all I can remember was looking at his hands and thinking how can hands that big perform surgery on my tiny little baby? I can remember his lips moving but I wasn’t taking in anything he said. I was reassured by the nurses during the whole four hours Harper was in surgery.
The nurses walked me around the ward and talked through everything I needed to know. I can’t thank ward 35 enough and all the staff that works there because if it wasn’t for every single one of them, Harper wouldn’t have survived. Everyone that works on Ward 35 is an Angel in disguise. Harper spent her first Christmas in the red zone and I can honestly say it was the worst Christmas of my life, but the staff and nurses made it feel much better. The gifts, cards, and all other donations from past families and other charities were incredible. Ward 35 was my saving grace and I can not thank everyone enough for all their hard work. Harper spent a total of five months and three days on the ward and by the end, everyone seemed like family. It wasn’t smooth sailing but I couldn’t have done it without all the staff. Harper weighed four pounds 7oz when I was able to bring her home to meet the rest of her family.’
How did Tiny Lives impact your time on the Unit?
‘Tiny Lives really is an amazing cause. Any problem and they are there to help no matter how big or small. The Miniboos were a life saver for me, I loved being able to take home one home so I could smell my baby all the time. The Claire’s Nests that the baby’s sleep in are wonderful to make them more comfortable. Even the Tiny little hats and clothes they provide for the baby are amazing as often families are never prepared for what happens. I still have Harpers first ever hat that was placed on her head after I had her by emergency section. Tiny lives don’t just help the baby, they also help parents with counseling and financial help – the list goes on. They really are an amazing charity and I owe my whole life to them.’