“It was all new to us and very scary” - Aidan’s story

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Aidan and his wife Holly knew that their baby boy Teddy would need neonatal care. In his story, he shares details about the ups and downs of Teddy's ten-week-long NICU stay.

When I met my wife Holly in 2014 she was very open and honest with me regarding her health. In 2008 she had had a kidney transplant after spending years on dialysis and warned me that she would probably need another transplant in the future.

In 2015 she had to go back on dialysis and thankfully received a kidney transplant from her wonderful Mum the following year.

We got married in 2018 and had the most amazing day, followed by a honeymoon that was out of this world.

We had talked about having children in the future but knew that Holly’s health may not allow us the chance to become parents.

After the honeymoon the conversation around having a baby arose again. I must admit this was more instigated by Holly rather than myself. Unfortunately in 2012 I lost my daughter Lilly-Rose with my previous partner; she was stillborn at full-term so obviously I was apprehensive at the prospect of having another baby.

We took advice from Holly’s transplant team who decided to change her medication and were referred to the amazing obstetricians at Liverpool Women’s Hospital.

As soon as we were given the go ahead to start trying for a baby, we were lucky enough to fall pregnant.

It was an apprehensive time for anyone but with thoughts of Lilly not far from my mind and the COVID-19 lockdown (Holly was shielding and working from home), it was a worrying time.

Holly was monitored very closely by her transplant team but it was at a general midwife appointment at around 24 weeks, where Holly’s blood pressure caused concern.

She was told to go to the hospital immediately and what followed was a whirlwind three weeks.


Holly was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia, which was made even more dangerous with the history of her having had a kidney transplant. Initially we were able to control Holly’s blood pressure by medication but it soon became clear that this was not going to be enough.

Holly was admitted and we were told that our baby would be born early, probably within the next week. We were shown around the new state-of-the-art neonatal unit and although hospitals were not alien to us, everything was a lot smaller than we were used to.

Tiny incubators, tiny nappies and the sound of beeps and alarms.

Holly was given two doses of steroids 24 hours apart to try and help the baby’s lungs before birth. We would wait anxiously every day wondering if this would be the day that our baby would have to be born.

On 8 September 2020 it was decided that our little boy would be born the next day. Holly’s blood pressure was not under control and it was in the best interest of Holly’s health and the baby’s.

We hadn’t told anyone how ill Holly was or that our baby was going to be born early (only our siblings and parents knew). I said goodnight to Holly knowing that the next day we would be parents!

I had been home for a couple of hours and I received a phone call from Holly that said: “Don’t panic but you need to get here now - the baby’s movements have reduced and they want to get him out as soon as possible!”

A nervous drive to the hospital followed and thankfully I made it in time, scrubs on and into theatre with Holly to be prepped for her c-section. We knew we would have a tough road ahead of us.

Our little boy Teddy was born on 9 September 2020. We delayed cord clamping to give him the best possible start and he actually came out crying, after we were warned that he probably wouldn’t.

The next few days were a blur, worrying about both Holly and Teddy and splitting my time between both. The care that Teddy received throughout his time in NICU was incredible. He had to undergo scans, lumbar puncture and chest drains.

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It was all new to us and very scary. I was able to hold Teddy after three days and Holly held him after a week. Holly was informed that she was able to breastfeed even with the medication she was on and so the three hourly expressing began.

We did as much as we could for Teddy, learning how to tube feed him and giving care. No one warns you how awkward it is to change a tiny baby’s nappy through two small holes in an incubator! Also, no one tells you that tiny babies still do explosive poos!

Our journey at the hospital wasn’t without bumps in the road; Teddy had a small bleed on the brain, a collapsed lung and PDA. Some days he would require more intervention than others but eventually he became stronger and needed less and less help.

Once Teddy was on high-flow oxygen and in his own cot we had a clearer view of him and it became more real that he was ours!

At five weeks old Teddy was well enough to be transferred closer to our home in Warrington to their NICU department. He spent another five weeks in hospital – I had to return to work so Holly spent the day with Teddy and I would join them in the evenings.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions and constant changing of the rules, some days we weren’t allowed to visit together and our family weren't able to meet Teddy until he was discharged.

Talks of discharge started when Teddy was approaching ten weeks old. We knew he would be discharged on oxygen which was such a scary thought.

In the space of three days, Teddy had had his first bath, passed his car seat test and oxygen had been delivered to our house.

On 19 November 2022 – over ten weeks after him being born we were able to bring him home and introduce him to our families.

Teddy stayed on oxygen for around eight months and was looked after wonderfully by the home oxygen nurses.

Looking back now it all seems like a distant memory, but we will never forget the time we spent in both neonatal units, the people we met and the Staff who cared for Teddy so well.

Teddy is thriving and is a whirlwind of a toddler now – he’s happy and healthy. Someone must have been looking down on Teddy the day he was born. Maybe it was his big sister Lilly, whose birthday would have been the next day.