This October Paul and his brother Chris are running the Royal Parks Half Marathon on behalf of our son Felix for the UCLH Neonatal Unit Charity - Early Lives so that they may continue to provide their amazing support to other families.
No one ever expects to give birth in their second trimester of pregnancy. So when our little boy Felix suddenly arrived out of the blue a whole 3.5 months early in July 2018, our whole world was turned upside down.
Babies born that early just aren't ready for the world which can result in numerous complications. He was given a 50% chance of survival which was immediately put to the test when he first emerged into the world and then in the first few days of life when we almost lost him to a major brain and lung haemorrhage. And once again a week later when a perforated bowel resulted in us being rushed to Great Ormond Street Hospital for life saving surgery at 2am.
We lived in absolute terror of what each day would bring during a time when we should have been happy, excited and planning for our baby's arrival.
Felix was upsettingly tiny. He struggled to breathe on his own or digest food. He had to deal with having an ileostomy, a PDA heart condition, chronic lung disease, the eye condition Retinopathy of Prematurity (which is what caused Stevie Wonder's blindness), various superbugs, suspected sepsis, multiple blood transfusions, being covered in uncomfortable tubes and wires, countless painful cannulas and procedures and frightening tests. He also experienced hundreds of bradycardias, each causing us to hold our breaths praying that it wouldn't get so bad that the emergency alarm would be pulled and everyone would come rushing in to resuscitate him which was not an uncommon occurrence.
Right from the start the UCLH Neonatal Unit was there to support us. They provided life saving care for the 100+ days Felix spent with them and guided us through the overwhelming shock and terror of having such a vulnerable baby. In spite of the incubator, they taught us how to bond with him and care for him which was invaluable for both his development and our mental health. They were there for us every step of the way, supporting us through the tough times and celebrating every victory, no matter how small as Felix slowly stabilised and improved, showing us every day that he was a fighter and survivor.
Felix is now a happy, healthy one year old, keeping up with his corrected age milestones, loving life and bringing joy to everyone he meets. For this, we shall be forever grateful to the UCLH Neonatal Unit and the role they played in getting him here.
This October Paul and his brother Chris are running the Royal Parks Half Marathon on behalf of Felix for the UCLH Neonatal Unit Charity - Early Lives so that they may continue to provide their amazing support to other families.
Early Lives brings together doctors, nurses, therapists and veteran parents. They support all aspects of life on the UCLH neonatal unit including the babies, families and staff. By paying for things like specialist equipment, family facilities, staff training and neonatal research, Early Lives enhances the care provided by the neonatal team and covers costs for things that are not funded through the NHS.
We are hoping to be able to fundraise enough to pay for the special chair that we made daily use of while we were in the neonatal unit! See how this impacted us here: https://earlylives.org/our-impact/neonatal-chairs/