At five minutes to five in the afternoon of the third of January 2015 our beautiful little girl, Elizabeth "Betty" Rose was born, weighing just 1lb 9oz. Betty arrived three months early, born at just twenty-eight weeks. Although apprehensive, we were so excited to meet her at last following on from a pretty turbulent pregnancy.
We soon realised that she was in absolutely the right place for such a delicate baby girl. The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in the Jessop Wing at Sheffield's Teaching Hospitals. One of, if not the best centre for looking after babies with special requirements in the country.
Betty may have been small but she had a power and strength that out weighed her size a hundred times over. After just 48 hours she was pushing to breath on her own and had started to take small amounts of her mummies milk.
However all was not well for our little baby. She had contracted a bacterial infection. An unsavoury microorganism that surrounds us all, bacillus cereus is known to most of us as the nasty tummy bug that you can catch from reheated rice. In Betty, with her reduced immune system, it managed to cross the blood brain membrane and unknown to all apart from her it started to multiply inside her cranium eating its way through her brain cells, creating three massive cavities in just twelve hours and changing how she looked and moved in the process.
And yet still she fought. Standing next to her, and along side us were the most amazing team. Everyone in the Intensive Care unit, from the cleaners right up to Dr Alan Gibson the Director of Neonatal Services, all fought tirelessly with her to combat the bacteria. But to no avail and our worst fears were realised when only a week after she had joined our family, she left us. The damage to her brain had progressed to a point where she could no longer battle onwards.
Betty passed away on Saturday the tenth of January. She looked as beautiful when she left us as when we had met her a week earlier. We will always remember our gorgeous, brave little girl with her olive skin and chestnut hair, our hearts broken by our loss and our arms left heavy without her cocooned inside them.
Words will never be able to describe the gratitude we feel towards the wonderful team in the Jessops Wing who worked tirelessly at all they did for Betty, for their determination and commitment in helping our little girl, for staying on after their shifts had finished to watch over her, for providing us with a room to stay in so we could both be there with her 24 hours a day, and for the compassion and humility they showed in our darkest hours. It is people like this that make you proud, and restore your faith in humanity.
Our hope is that we can help to support this amazing unit with your help and plentiful donations - if the money we raise can give assistance to just one baby then we will have been successful in our quest, so please give generously.
Forever in our hearts, etched in our memory…
...Elizabeth Rose Tallis xxx