WHEN baby Oscar was delivered three months early weighing less than a bag of sugar his parents Chloe White (24) and Adam Wells (27) were told he had just a 30 per cent chance of survival.
Here Chloe, of Shelland Close, Harborough, tells their story: “Oscar was born at 27 weeks gestation on December 23, and like a typical Christmas story there were no incubator spaces available.
“After being taken into the Leicester General Hospital, I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia and was told I needed to be moved to a hospital with a more specialist neonatal unit because of my baby’s size.
“We were told the Leicester Royal was full but the search for a cot had widened to Nottingham/Birmingham, but again no cot spaces.
“The midwife then informed us that a cot was on hold in London for us, but again the space was taken so at that time our options were for me to be airlifted to Scotland or Portsmouth - not an ideal situation.
“The following morning a bed for myself and an incubator space for baby had been found at Chesterfield and so we were moved.
“The following day surgeons/doctors/midwives informed us that our baby had to be delivered in order to save both our lives, so on December 23 at 3.50pm Oscar was born by emergency c-section weighing just 660g.
“We were told he had a 30 per cent chance of survival and began to prepare ourselves for the worst.
“Oscar was too small to stay at Chesterfield and was transferred hours after his birth to Sheffield Jessops wing, they gave my partner Adam a photo of Oscar so I could see him and as they took him out the the ambulance to go to Sheffield they brought him in to my room so I could at least see him before they moved him.
“I was transferred the following evening - a whole day not even being in the same hospital was awful, every time the phone on the ward rang we thought it was bad news.
“We spent around week in Sheffield living a blur of breathing equipment, wires and tubes but once I was well enough to be discharged they found Oscar a cot space at Leicester Royal.
“On January 1 Oscar was moved back to Leicester. Once on the unit we were encouraged to give Oscar his feeds (via a nasal gastric tube) and to change him and occasionally he was even able to come out of his incubator for kangaroo care (where the baby is placed on the parents chest, skin to skin).
“We spent every day sat by the side of his incubator but leaving every night broke our hearts.
“Oscar was doing well and had progressed off a ventilator and on to CPAP a machine designed to keep premature babies’ lungs from closing completely when they breathe.
“But then as my partner had to return to work Oscar became very sick, his right lung had completely collapsed and he had to go back on to the ventilator, we were awoken the next morning and told it was best to get to the hospital as Oscar wasn’t doing well.
“We spent a few sleepless nights at the side of his incubator and using the parents’ room provided and slowly he began to improve.
“After a couple of weeks Oscar was back on to CPAP and began doing well again, he was even moved from his incubator to a cot.
“But then we were told he had ROP (Retinopathy of prematurity) which is a problem with the eye that is associated with oxygen therapy.
“We were told he needed laser eye surgery and so would have to be put back on the ventilator for surgery.
“After the surgery Oscar was not coping well and it was discovered he had pneumonia.
“After another week of restless nights and dashing back to the hospital he was finally back off the ventilator and doctors suggested that we should try and get him off CPAP and just onto oxygen so we could think about home.
“No one had mentioned home to us in such a long time, we were filled with hope, maybe just maybe he could make it home and beat the odds.
“After a course of steroids and a few weeks of learning to take a bottle we were moved finally from intensive care to the nursery on April 1.
“After spending 99 days in high dependency care we were one step closer to leaving.
“The doctors advised us it would be around eight weeks before Oscar could go home but on April 19 Oscar came home on oxygen.
“It was the best day of our lives, we left the hospital and could not believe what our tiny 660g baby had overcome.
“Since being at home Oscar has become stronger and stronger and is now beginning to very slowly wean off his oxygen for a small amount of time each day.
“Without the staff at LRI we know this day would not have happened, their care for not only Oscar but our family was impeccable!
“How do you thank a team of people for giving you the greatest gift of all?!
“I cannot explain the panic, worry or excruciating heart break a journey through neonatal care brings but there are also lots of happy memories, things that you do with your children everyday become milestones and precious keepsakes on NNU, like having their first bath, dressing them in tiny tiny clothes or getting a half an hour cuddle after long day of sitting at the side of an incubator.”