Our daughter Olivia made an early arrival into the world 15 weeks early on the 11th November 2013. She weighed a tiny 1lb 11 ozs. At this gestation there is only a 50/50 chance of survival as so many vital organs such as the lungs are not yet developed enough for the outside world.
Luckily she was born at St. Peter's. St. Peter's is the only hospital in Surrey with the appropriate staff level, equipment and experience to provide the highest level of intensive care for such small and sick newborn babies.
Olivia spent the first eight weeks of her life in intensive care where she faced many challenges. The most problematic being a grade 3 bleed in her brain and struggling to breath for herself without the need of ventilation. The dedication and level of care provided by the whole team of doctors and nurses was instrumental in helping Olivia through these long weeks.
After 30 days Olivia was able to breath without the ventilator with a little support from some high pressure humidified oxygen through the nose. However the bleed had caused for a better phrase the plumbing in her head to become blocked and this resulted in being transferred to st George's hospital for neurosurgery to fit a valve which would do the job for her. Unfortunately this valve was short lived and 6 weeks later had to be replaced.
While on the unit Olivia underwent laser eye surgery for a condition called retinopathy of prematurity. Without this level of unit at St. Peter's this treatment would also have been carried out elsewhere.
After 105 days days Olivia was finally discharged just two days after her due date and weighing 4lb 8 ozs. She was discharged on oxygen which we will wean down gradually at home and she will continue to be monitored by the staff on the unit for years to come.
Whilst speaking to the staff and from carrying out my own research I have learnt that each intensive care cot costs in the region of £80.000 to fully equip and whilst there is government funding for these special units most of the funding for the equipment and specialist apparatus comes from charitable donations.
Without the unit at St. Peter's our daughter would not be here today. We now hope we can give a little back to the unit in terms of fundraising for some new / replacement equipment or by sending staff for further specialist training so other babies like Olivia can be given the same specialist care she did.
adrian is cycling London to Brighton on the 7th september please sponsor him what you can for this worthy cause thank you x