When Charlotte Jones found out that she was pregnant, she expected a hassle free birth, and a healthy, happy baby. But a memorable first cuddle with her son Freddie was snatched away from her.
When Freddie was born at full term, he wasn’t breathing. So instead of being placed in her arms he was rushed away so that the medical staff could keep him alive.
“The first few hours of Freddie’s life are a bit of a blur, we weren’t allowed to see him until he was stable. All I wanted to do was hold the little baby I’d be longing to meet, but instead we were breaking the devastating news to our families that he was very sick.”
Seeing a baby in special care for the first time is a moment that Charlotte will never forget: “Being separated from my baby when he was so sick and only a few hours old broke my heart. When I arrived by his side I couldn’t believe how much equipment was around him, there were tubes and monitors everywhere and he looked so small.”
Freddie was kept alive on a ventilator for the first three days and received ‘cooling’ treatment to reduce the amount of possible brain damage he would have as a result of the lack of oxygen at birth. In order to receive the care he needed, Freddie had to be transferred to a different hospital.
“I was meant to be keeping my baby safe and warm, but he was being taken to a place I didn’t know in a big plastic box, by people I didn’t know, and I hadn’t even had a chance to have a cuddle. In the days following his birth we started to process what had happened and realised that it wasn’t a bad dream, it was real life. People commented on how ‘well’ I was dealing with it and how ‘strong’ I was being, but I think I just went into overdrive.
“All I wanted to do was take my baby home. The nights were the worst because I was so used to having him with me and suddenly he wasn’t there. I remember feeling numb, but I wouldn’t change the experience – it is a part of who we all are now.”
Freddie was able to go home after ten days, but before they left he had an MRI scan showing a moderate degree of brain damage that was likely to affect his movement.
“Initially we thought he would never sit up unaided, but he is two years old now and is starting to stand on his own. He has been diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and Nystagmus (involuntary eye movement) but he continues to go above and beyond what was ever expected of him.
“Every day Freddie is a reminder of how truly blessed we are, but not everyone is as lucky as us and even with the best medical care some babies aren’t strong enough to make it through their battle. Bliss is there to help these families through that awful time.”
Charlotte had planned to take part in the 2015 London Marathon to support Bliss, but she has had to defer to 2016 as she is expecting her second child.
“I am excited but nervous about the new baby, every day I am so thankful that we got to keep our one little baby so the thought of having two makes me feel truly lucky. I really do think Freddie will make a wonderful big brother and am looking forward to my babies playing and growing up together.”
Charlotte and Freddie's story was featured in the latest edition of Little Bliss, if you would like to view it online, please click here. If you have been affected by any of the issues in this post, please call the Bliss helpline for support.
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