My son Logan was due in December 2014 but was born 12 weeks early after I showed signs of HELLP syndrome; a life-threatening pregnancy complication causing high blood pressure which can shut down your body’s organs.
Logan was born weighing just 1lb 15oz, meaning his chances of survival were slim; but my little boy’s a fighter.
After Logan was born, we were both transferred to The Rosie Hospital at Addenbrooke’s in Cambridge. When we arrived at the hospital I was treated in a separate ward for ten days. I wasn’t able to see him for the first two days because I was so poorly - all I could do was look at a picture.
After I was discharged, my partner Luke and I were offered a room at Chestnut House – a Sick Children’s Trust ‘Home from Home’ located at the hospital. We were just minutes away from my poorly boy’s bedside and this made it so much easier for me to bond with Logan, especially as I had been unable to see or hold him for the first two days of his life. It was reassuring to know he was in safe hands at the hospital, and that we could be by his bedside in an instant. We live nearly two hours away from Cambridge, so travelling to and from our home would have been a nightmare.
Having somewhere quiet and comfortable to stay whilst we were going through such a difficult time really helped us. Sometimes you feel like giving up and it’s nice to know you have a private space away from the wards, where you can just close the door and cry. It really was a ‘Home from Home’ where we could cook, wash clothes and I was able to express my milk. The house even had dedicated fridges so I had somewhere safe to store it. It was also nice to have the support of other families who are in the same boat and could empathise with what you were going through.
Logan’s a little fighter but that also got him into trouble. At just a few weeks old, he somehow managed to pull the medicine tubes out of his leg. This gave him an abscess and required an immediate operation. The rooms at Chestnut House have a phone which links directly to the ward so as soon as this happened, the nurses were able to contact us and we were by our little boy’s bedside in minutes – something which wouldn’t have been possible if we had been at home.
Logan was discharged after two weeks and we were transferred to our local hospital where he stayed for another eight weeks. In the end, Logan was home just in time for Christmas.
But in January 2015 things took a turn for the worse and he became very poorly.
He was initially diagnosed with bronchitis, caused by a virus infecting his lungs. However, I knew there was something seriously wrong with my little boy. Mother’s instinct was telling me that something wasn’t right.
Within three hours of being back in the hospital he went into cardiac arrest. The issue was far more serious – it was a problem with his heart. Logan was transferred to the Royal Brompton Hospital for a specialist operation which thankfully went well. Not knowing what the outcome would be, we had him baptised whilst he was on a ventilator. When I saw my little boy going from being pink to so white, I was convinced I was going to lose him. But after his operation, he was like a different child.
Logan suffers from Chronic Lung Disease as a result of his prematurity and has been reliant on oxygen to keep him alive over the past year. We have had two large oxygen cylinders delivered weekly and he’s had a nasal tube to feed the oxygen into his lungs. But on 2nd October this year - five days before his first birthday - we were told we could finally take it off. I just sat there and cried when they told me, because after all this time I could see my little boy’s beautiful face, without any tubes taped to it.
Logan is now a happy, thriving little boy and we couldn’t have done those first few weeks without the help of The Sick Children’s Trust. Having a free room to stay close to our little boy’s bedside helped us get to the place we are today. The staff and all the other families were so supportive and it’s great not to have to worry about the small things; we could focus on getting our little boy better.
Jemma Jarvis, Logan’s mum