Here at Bliss, one of our priorities is making sure we are there for families when they need us. We try our hardest to do this where we can and we like to keep a record of families who we’ve helped – our case studies. One of these families is the Taylor-Richardsons from Bradford and this is their story, written by mum Donna Marie.
“Despite being diagnosed with a condition that could potentially stop me from having children, I have given birth to four beautiful children. Our first born, Dylan, was a healthy baby boy born two weeks overdue weighing 9lbs 6oz. He was perfect.
The day my second son was born, we saw the other side of life, the life we never knew existed – the smallest of babies fighting for survival on neonatal units. Dexter was born at 24 weeks gestation weighing 1lb 12 oz. No one knows why our little miracle came so early, I took care of myself during my pregnancy, I didn’t drink and I didn’t smoke.
A week before he was born I woke to severe bleeding so we went straight to our local hospital where I was briefed by around five doctors, midwives and paediatricians. My precious baby boy was given a 30 per cent chance of survival. If he made it through the delivery.
Seven days later, on April 8 2009 he was born. His body was extremely bruised, his eyes were fused shut, his body was sticky to touch and you could see through his skin to his tiny veins. I couldn’t bring myself to look at him and I broke down, he looked like he was in so much pain.
We had to be transferred to Liverpool women’s hospital which was over an hour away. This was terrifying as we still had Dylan to look after, but we made the hard decision to leave him with his grandparents so that we could be with our poorly baby boy.
When we arrived we were told that he had been resuscitated three times after arriving, he had two bleeds on the brain and had been pumped with morphine. The following weeks were difficult. He was ventilated for three weeks and then on C-PAP after that. In total he spent three months and two weeks at Liverpool before moving to Halifax where he started tolerating his feeds and growing bigger. After six weeks he was moved back to our local hospital where he had been born.
It had been a long journey for us as a family but after a few weeks at Dewsbury he finally got to come home. He still required oxygen but it finally felt like we were proper parents to him. Our little fighter was amazing.
A short while later I gave birth to my daughter Donella. She was born at 32 weeks gestation weighing 5lb 12oz. She needed help with her oxygen but was nowhere near as ill as Dexter and came home after five weeks.
Finally, our fourth child Denzel was conceived in December 2013. He also decided to come early, on May 27 2014. He weighed 1lb 7oz and had a head of dark hair just like Dexter. But he was born too soon and sadly passed away. My beautiful angel baby.
I know the pain of losing a baby, and having a baby fight for its life, and Bliss has helped me deal with these experiences. They helped me and my family stay strong during our days of distress and upset. I took comfort and reassurance in the fantastic work Bliss offers families, it helped me stay positive. Reading other families experiences helped me massively and I hope that reading this story will help other people like it helped me – you’re not alone.”
If you would like to help families like Donna’s, you can donate to Bliss by visiting our website bliss.org.uk/get-involved/donate/, by calling 020 7378 5740 or by texting BLIS11 then your amount (e.g. BLISS115) to 70070.