Parents of baby born three months premature thank Ipswich Hospital for saving the life of their 'little miracle'
Grateful parents have thanked doctors and nurses at Ipswich Hospital for saving the life of their "little miracle" baby boy after he was born three months premature.
Clare Stevenson, 32, was diagnosed with a rare condition which meant when her son George was born he weighed just 3lb 8oz and had lost so much blood Clare and her husband Mark, from Kesgrave, were not even allowed to cuddle their newborn until he was four-days-old.
“I can’t thank the doctors and nurses enough,” said Clare. “George is my little miracle.
“I just had to be calm and trust everyone. We are so grateful to everyone at Ipswich Hospital who cared for George and I and helped make this a success story.
“We were really well looked after.”
The family has recently gone back to the hospital to say a big thank you to obstetrician Djavid Alleemudder, paediatrician Chris Yale and the neonatal unit nurses and hospital midwives for saving George’s life.
Clare and Mark, who also have a daughter Chloe, four, had previously been through one miscarriage. When Clare was just six weeks pregnant with George, she began bleeding again.
In a blog post Clare wrote for Life Abundant, she said she feared she was losing another baby.
She said: “I was told I was probably having another miscarriage and was booked for a scan at eight weeks. I was so upset that this could be happening again, but after suffering the normal early pregnancy symptoms, I was quietly confident. At the eight-week scan, we were so relieved that there was a healthy heartbeat.”
Clare had to have regular scans to monitor George’s progress as the bleeding continued on and off throughout her pregnancy – there were 13 bleeds in total. After another ultrasound scan at week 26 she was finally diagnosed with vasa praevia, a condition affecting just 555 pregnancies across the UK every year, with a low lying placenta.
She was then admitted to hospital where she would stay until a planned caesarian section at week 34.
Clare said: “Initially I was upset to be in the hospital as leaving my little girl at home was heartbreaking, but from that point forward I bled every few days and I knew I was in the right place. Every bleed I had in hospital, small or large, just worried me even more and I couldn’t see how I could make 34 weeks.
“I knew how serious this condition was and I tried not to think what could happen. It was really hard not to let my mind wander, especially in the evenings when all was quiet on the ward. I felt like I was a ticking time bomb in a situation I had no control over.”
Clare’s fears of not reaching week 34 were realised when her waters ruptured and she was rushed to theatre on April 2 for an emergency caesarian section at 29 weeks.
She only saw her baby for a few seconds before little George was rushed off to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
Doctors later told her if he had not been delivered when he was, the blood loss would have been fatal.
She added: “He looked so tiny in this big incubator. I was in complete shock and denial I had delivered until we went and saw him in NICU a few hours later. It was so upsetting seeing him so poorly. There were tubes everywhere and machines beeping. The doctor advised us he was very poorly and he had lost a lot of blood resulting in him having a blood transfusion.”
George was cared for by the hospital’s neonatal unit for six-and-a-half weeks before he was discharged.
Clare added: “George went from strength to strength and we were finally allowed home.
“It was great to get home, but very surreal as Ipswich Hospital has almost become our second home since my very first bleed.
“Today he is absolutely fine with no long-term problems.”
The only issue George does have is anaemia, but he is being closely monitored due to the large amount of blood he lost.
Clare wanted to share her story on the blog after reading some “heart breaking stories” to show there can be a positive outcome for those who suffer from vasa preavia.
She added: “I feel very lucky to have been able to make 29 weeks. I never thought I would even make this when the bleeding started at six weeks. We never allowed ourselves to get excited or find out the sex of the baby just in case, the pregnancy never felt safe.
“If vasa previa is diagnosed and with the right prenatal care, it can end positively. I would say to anyone in this position to do whatever you are advised to do by your healthcare professional. Even if this means a long hospital stay, it’s so worth it to get your healthy baby.”