Beth Simpson

Charity football fun day in memory of Harry Simpson

Fundraising for Southmead Hospital Charity
raised of £1,000 target
by 79 supporters
In memory of Harry Simpson
We fundraise for North Bristol NHS Trust to enhance patient healthcare in Bristol


Thanks for taking the time to visit my JustGiving page.

On the 9th June 2022 it would have been my Son Harry's 14th birthday .Harry passed away at just 8 months old on the 18th of February 2009. We would like to raise money for the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Bristol Southmead hospital in his memory .

We are organising a charity football fun day on the 4th June & we really hope you can come along & support us to raise as much money as possible for a fantastic charity .

I have asked my wife Beth to tell Harry’s story it will help
you understand what we went through and why it is so important to us to help raise money for NICU.

Harry’s Story

 It started in May 2008, the first 20 weeks of my first pregnancy had been going smoothly then I had my 20 week scan at Torbay hospital. The doctors said the baby was a bit small and asked me to come back 2 weeks later for a growth scan. During this scan I was told the baby was still small and they wanted to check me again after
2 weeks. I was 24 weeks pregnant and absolutely petrified going for this scan appointment. The consultant did the scan and confirmed our baby boy had not grown in the last 2 weeks and they would need to investigate what was wrong, as he was not in a good way. I was admitted to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth and
after 10 days in hospital, and lots of tests the doctors told us that our baby was very sick if I didn't give birth ASAP he would not survive. Unfortunately due to the lack of hospitals that can care for premature baby's and Plymouth was full, I had to be taken to South Mead hospital in Bristol by ambulance. The doctors told us that as our baby was so weak he would not survive a natural delivery and I would have a C section. I was prepped and taken to theatre, Nathan was with me and on the 9th June 2009 at 5.14 pm our son Harry Simpson was born. He weighed 468 grams (1lb) and was about as long as a pen. The
smallest baby I had ever seen. He didn't cry when he was first born, the
neonatologists where there ready to ventilate him and whisked him off to intensive care.

 Due to the C section I was unable to walk right away and therefore didn't see Harry until the next day. When I eventually went into NICU, it was so overwhelming there were rows of incubators with tiny babies all
attached to ventilators, feeding tubes, oxygen probes, heart rate monitors and thermometers. We weren’t allowed to touch Harry, we just sat and looked at him all day. Harry couldn't breath by himself he was completely dependent on a ventilator but ventilators damage a
baby's lungs so they try to get them off them ASAP . Harry was the smallest baby on the unit and because he was so weak when he was born the doctors wouldn’t attempt to take him off the ventilator. After a few days the hospital discharged me but NICU put Nathan and I up in the family rooms. When Harry was 8 days old, a nurse knocked on the door at 1am and woke us, she said that Harry had become quite unwell and that we needed to go to his incubator right away. I felt like I would be sick I was shaking and so scared of what the doctors were going to
tell us I didn't want to go in there. The doctors were surrounding Harry when we got there, one came over to us to explain that Harry had an infection and was possibly not going to make it through the night.I broke down crying it was my worst nightmare coming true. The doctors stabilized him and started a blood transfusion, slowly his blood pressure and oxygen levels started to increase. We sat next to his incubator all night watching our baby boy fight for his life. By morning he was a bit more stable and over the next day or 2 got better and better. After a couple of weeks the doctors managed to move Harry from a
ventilator to a breathing support called CPAP which was a small step forward.
Most babies that are born prematurely are ready to go home by there due date, so we were expecting to be in hospital with Harry until mid September, his due date, but as the weeks went by we saw other babies grow and get stronger but Harry's journey seemed to be different, he had good days and at 5 weeks old we were able to have our first cuddle. It was the best moment of my life I didn’t ever want to let him go. As Harry's lungs were damaged quite badly when he was ventilated a lot of his lungs had turned to scar tissue and therefore didn't work very well. When the small amount of lung that did work became infected it really set Harry back, he was unable to breath by himself again and had to be ventilated which in turn damaged his lungs even more. On September
19th 2009 (Harry's due date) he was 100 days old and weighed about 5lb. Harry was still not strong or well enough to be transferred to a hospital closer to home so everyday I would sit with Harry whilst Nathan travelled to and from
Bristol to work . On October the 3rd Harry become unwell again and within 24hrs we were told for the 2nd time he might not make it through the weekend, Again my whole world was falling apart as I watched my poor innocent baby boy fighting for his life . All I could think of was why Harry, why MY baby, all I wanted to do was protect my baby from harm and I couldn't!! We arranged for Harry to be Christened with a few family members there and then we just sat and waited with him, the doctors couldn't believe it when over the next few hours
Harry's sats started to improve again, within a few days he was a bit stronger again. A few weeks later Harry had to have laser eye surgery as the oxygen levels he had been on since his birth were so high his retinas had started to detach and he would have gone blind. The surgery went well and Harry continued to grow but his need for oxygen was still quite high.

 During Harry's 1st Christmas Nathan and I tried to make it as nice as possible, as any one would on there child's first Christmas, with presents etc, it was never how I imagined our first Christmas together. However, we have some amazing memories with him that day. The hospital wrote us a card from Harry putting his footprints on it and set up Father Christmas and his elves to be there with presents for all the children. In January 2010 Harry was 7 months old, the doctors sat us down and told us that the tests they had carried out to see if Harry could feed normally (with a bottle) showed that the milk was coming back up, and he was inhaling this which is what was causing all of his chest infections . They said he would have to have a gastrostomy (a feeding tube in his stomach permanently). This was booked for the end of the month, but before the end of the month Harry developed another infection and had to be ventilated again. The doctors decided to move his operation forward and move Harry to the Bristol children’s hospital for the operation. Although hewas still quite unwell they decided the benefits would out way the risks and to do the surgery straight away. Whilst Harry was under anaesthetic a procedure was done where dye was put into Harry's lungs to see the true extent of damage to them. We sat in the waiting room for 4 extremely long hours when the surgeon came to see us to say Harry was back and stable. The results showed his lungs were more damaged than originally thought but he may still grow out of the damage. We clung to the positives and waited for Harry to recover from his operation, but his recovery didn't go as expected. Harry was fighting, but was not strong enough to come off the ventilator. We asked for a meeting with all the doctors to discuss Harry's situation. The doctors explained there was a chance Harry could survive but his chances were low and if he did survive he had a very high chance of being extremely disabled, unable to walk or talk. We went back and sat with Harry, I looked at his little face, the medicine he was on was keeping his body paralysed so that he couldn't pull his ventilator out but he was awake. He looked at me and tears were pouring down his face but he couldn't even move his face to cry, that was the moment I realised I was being selfish, putting our gorgeous baby through all this treatment and surgery to try and save him when he couldn't be saved . We told the doctors we didn't want to put him through any more unnecessary pain and just to keep him comfortable and peaceful. We were moved back to South Mead hospital, at our request as we knew the doctors there. We didn't know how long Harry would live for but we knew he was comfortable. We asked if Harry could spend the night in our room in the hospital as we had never had that before which they agreed and after our family's had left that night we laid in bed just the 3 of us and for the first time felt like a normal family. We lay there and cuddled, it was amazing. We put Harry in his bed next to us and held his hand and all fell asleep together.

At 6.30 am on the 18th February I was woken up by Harry's oxygen monitor alarm going off, Nathan went to get a doctor, I held Harry in my arms and when the doctor came he told us it wouldn’t be long. We held him so tight and he peacefully drifted away in my arms. I couldn't tell you what happened after that, I know lots of our family came, the doctors,nurses and even the cleaners came to say
good bye to him, they had all grown so attached to him. It was all a blur, we had Harry's funeral 5 days later. NICU was amazing the
best doctors and nurses I have ever met and with out them i wouldn't have spent 8 minutes with my baby boy let alone 8 months.A few of the doctors and nurses from the hospital travelled to Torquay to attend Harry’s funeral.

Through the toughest time in our life the NICU helped to make it bearable and always kept our spirits high. We really appreciate you taking the time to read this and hope that you will support this cause by either coming to our football day or donating.

About the charity

The kind support of our donors makes visionary healthcare & research happen today, providing a better future for patients who are cared for at North Bristol NHS Trust. Southmead Hospital Charity is the working title for North Bristol NHS Trust Charitable Funds, Registered Charity No.1055900

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+ £353.75 Gift Aid
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