A Nottinghamshire mum, who gave birth to her son 12 weeks prematurely, meaning he spent the first 129 days of his life in intensive care, has nominated the team that looked after him for an award.
Earlier this year, Helena Bee, a solicitor from West Bridgford, went to the antenatal clinic (where a mother gets care during her pregnancy) at the Queen’s Medical Centre (QMC) after having a bad reaction to some pain relief.
Helena was then asked to stay in overnight and in the afternoon, she went to use the bathroom while in hospital and went into an early labour.
According to the NHS, babies born before the full term of 37 weeks are more vulnerable.
Babies are considered ‘viable’ at 24 weeks of pregnancy – which means it’s possible for them to survive being born at this stage but not any earlier.
Helena gave birth to her son Alexander at 25 weeks.
The mother-of-two said: “It was terrifying – I was very quickly moved from the bathroom to the labour suite while I was told not to push.
“But Alexander was born and the neonatal team took him to the intensive care unit.
“From then on, they were just absolutely fantastic the whole time we were with them; the team are absolute experts and treated me and my family with such respect, everyone was so caring.
“As parents on that unit, we get so wrapped up in the journey and we almost forget about the team behind the incredible work that takes place.”
When Alex was born, he weighed 1lb 7oz – the UK average for a baby boy is 7lb 8oz.
But Alex is now six months old and doing well, attending regular clinic drop-ins with mum Helena and dad Arran as part of his development and support.
Helena said: “People keep saying it is a miracle that Alex is here.
“But it’s not miracle because that does not showcase the skill, hard work, knowledge and dedication of all the people involved in Alex’s care.
“It’s such a wide team including physiotherapists, dietitians, the junior doctors, nurses, consultants the neonatal practitioners – even the receptionists and volunteers – everybody that you come into contact with on the unit always has so much time for you.
“It was actually one of the scariest times of my life and at points it was made bearable with the support of the staff on the unit who, although it’s their job to care for you, really do care.
“I really wanted to give this team the recognition and the credit they deserve back.”
Helena has nominated the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) team for a NUHonours ward, which is an annual award ceremony to recognise and celebrate staff and teams who go the extra mile working across Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH), which runs the QMC and City Hospital.
Last year at NUH around 800 babies were born prematurely and, on average across the QMC and City Hospital, there are around 10,000 births each year.
Barbara Linley, neonatal matron for NUH, said: “We work extremely closely with families to make it as easy as possible for them at what is such a difficult time for parents so that they truly get the best outcome for their child.
“Babies and their families on the neonatal unit go through so much including extremes of emotions as part of the journey with their loved one.
“Helena and her family were great and we worked in partnership with them to help Alex.”
The awards shortlist is revealed on Monday (October 15).