“If we weren't at the hospital, we were only two minutes down the road getting some sleep”
Bianca and her partner Jack stayed at our Evelina London House while their baby daughter Florence was in intensive care. Bianca has shared her heartfelt experience and what the family are doing now to support the Charity.
It all started at my 20 week scan, when we found out there were complications with Florence's anatomy. Florence's life was certainly going to be rollercoaster for her, myself and my partner Jack.
On 15 December 2016, our darling daughter was born at St Thomas’ Hospital, with two holes in her heart, one lung and one kidney. She was rushed down to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, part of the Evelina Children's Hospital, to be looked after by the amazing consultants, doctors and nurses there. At four days old, we also discovered that Florence had a life-threateningly narrow airway. To you or me, this would feel like breathing through a straw.
We live in Canterbury, Kent, but the Evelina Children's Hospital is in London, so we stayed in the Ronald McDonald House there. This place is amazing. It enabled us to be with Florence every day of her life. It meant that if we weren't at the hospital, we were only two minutes down the road getting some sleep. Without this place we couldn't have been with Florence throughout everything, and for this we are so, so grateful.
Florence spent months in intensive care; she was incredibly unwell. Despite the doctors’ efforts, after nearly three months she wasn't responding as well to the oxygen and breathing support as she previously had. We were given the decision to either let the doctors withdraw her care in hospital, where Florence would know nothing but hospitals, or to have her transferred to a children's hospice where we could share precious moments with Florence before she sadly fell asleep.
On 14 March 2017, Florence was transferred to Demelza House, where we made such amazing memories with her. Florence’s family members arrived and we were able to push her around in her pram, something we had absolutely longed for. We were able to cuddle her without wires and tubes, we could walk around without her being attached to a wall. It was truly beautiful.
Sadly, we only had hours with our baby girl out of hospital before she became an angel.
We are doing several things to say thank you to the charities who helped us, which started with a collection box at Florence’s funeral. Florence’s dad is running the Royal London Half Marathon to raise money for the sick babies and parents on the ward and we are also doing a huge charity fun day. And this is all only the start.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. Ronald McDonald House Charities helped us so much, it is a charity you don’t know about until it is your lifeline.