To mark world prematurity day new parents Mark and Victoria Carter have described their extraordinary experience of having three premature babies.
Victoria and Mark, from Newcastle, welcomed triplets Amelia, Joseph and Matilda into the world five weeks ago, and the babies are receiving treatment at the specialist intensive care unit at the James Cook neonatal ward.
Born at 28 weeks, triplets Matilda (1lb 13oz), Amelia (2lbs 8oz) and Joseph (2lb 9oz) are all making steady progress and are keeping both staff and parents very busy with nappy changes, feeding and demands for attention.
Mum Victoria said: “We have been here for five weeks now and the staff are so supportive. We find that they are consistently communicating with each other and discussing our babies and how to take their progress further.
“The staff almost see that we are slightly more vulnerable, in the sense that we are away from our friends and family. So they tend to chat to us a bit more and pair us up with other parents in similar situations so that we have a network of friends.
“Although we are originally from the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, we were transferred to James Cook as there was no space there. We have been really lucky in the sense that we got a flat at the hospital so that we are always close to the children. It’s so reassuring!”
The neonatal ward at James Cook treats over 400 babies every year and its specialist care saves the lives of babies not only born in Teesside but across North Yorkshire and the North East.
The neonatal ward has three separate areas for the treatment of babies. Most babies admitted are cared for in the intensive care unit where they receive close observation and support such as help with their breathing. The high dependency area is for babies that may be attached to fewer monitors yet still require support. Babies who have progressed well, but still need specialist observation, are moved into special care area where they are developing towards being discharged.
Dr Shalabh Garg, neonatal consultant, said: “We provide intensive care for babies that need to go on breathing machines (ventilators) or babies who have an infection and need support for their heart or blood pressure or need cooling treatment. We have well equipped neonatal transport service and retrieve babies from other hospitals who need intensive care.
You can see from the amount of cards and Christmas presents that we receive from parents that they are really thankful for the work we do here.”
Every minute 29 babies around the world are born premature and world prematurity day aims to bring awareness to the importance of specialist neonatal units across the UK and the world.
To learn more about world prematurity day please visit the Bliss website.