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William's story

29 March 2014

Blog post by Michelle Ryder

My first Mother’s Day (and second!) was spent with my son William in hospital. I remember the first one; I cuddled him almost all day, I was thankful he was still there on the neonatal unit fighting, yet was so upset as never imagined it would be like this.

William was born very premature at 27 weeks gestation, weighing only 1lb 3oz, in November 2011 in London. He had to be delivered early by emergency c-section after I developed pre-eclampsia and HELLP syndrome and became very unwell. He was taken to the neonatal unit, where he stayed for four months until stable enough to be transferred up to our local hospital in Yorkshire.

He had a very stormy ride, requiring lengthy ventilation, having liver problems, feeding issues, many infections, and developing epilepsy. However, he was always in the best hands with amazing consultants, doctors and nurses always giving him the best care and fighting alongside him.

After eight months he finally came home solely tube fed and on constant oxygen. He managed 26 hours at home before he was rushed back to hospital and transferred to Sheffield PICU (Paedeatric Intensive Care Unit) in respiratory distress. He was on an oscillator ventilator and was very unstable. The consultants arranged for him to be transported to Leicester to go on life support. Fortunately he improved on the journey down, and escaped the machine. He spent a further month in Sheffield receiving care, weaning him off the ventilator, and helping him become well enough to come home.

Over the next three months we were in and out of hospital with viruses and feeding issues, before he was rushed to Sheffield PICU again in October 2012 after going into respiratory failure due to aspiration pneumonia. He was transferred to Newcastle and we were told to prepare for him not making it. However, as always, he had other ideas. He managed to come off the life support machine after six days, be transferred back to Sheffield and then soon came home.

Since October, William has had many admissions to Sheffield Hospital, due to illnesses, surgery and his epilepsy. He has many appointments there with consultants, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future due to his complex needs. He had a bleed inside his brain on the left side most likely when I had a threatened miscarriage at 18 weeks. This is a static brain injury, the extent and nature of which won’t change but its impact on Will’s neurodevelopment will change with age.

William suffers with epilepsy, he is fed via a gastric tube as he takes nothing orally, and he is also severely delayed. However, he is a true fighter, a gorgeous, content and loved little boy. He has an amazing team behind him at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, and would not be here if it wasn’t for the dedicated staff on St George’s neonatal unit. His parents will be eternally grateful to all who have been, and are currently involved in his care.

I and William’s granddad David will be cycling 190 miles from Sheffield Children’s Hospital to St George’s hospital, over two days from 26 to 27 April. William will be there with his daddy and he will see the place he was born, where his roller-coaster journey began, with the staff that cared for him his first fragile four months. We hope to raise as much money as we can, which will be used for equipment required for helping poorly babies and children, some of which William most likely will have used at some point in his stormy life. No amount of money could ever express the extent of our gratitude, but it’s a start.

William was a much longed for child, and the result of seven rounds of fertility treatment. A dream come true for me, although I never imagined I would spend two Mother’s Days sitting in hospital with him being very poorly.This year he is home and I will cuddle him lots. It will be a quiet one, but to be honest, every day feels like Mother’s Day to me now. I have my boy, he’s a miracle and a fighter, he has a lot of medical issues, but that’s my William and I wouldn’t change anything about him. He has made us so happy, and I’m just the luckiest mummy alive.


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