''If it wasn’t for the House, we wouldn’t have been by Noah’s side''
Guest Blogger: Amy Judge
Our son Noah was born in May 2015 at exactly 24 weeks (16 weeks early) at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford, Kent. He weighed a tiny 1lb 10oz (730g) which is less than the weight of a pineapple.
Noah and ourselves had a rollercoaster ride during his time in hospital. He was attached to a monitor with so many wires and beeps going off! He couldn't breathe on his own so was ventilated with a tube down his throat, that progressed to a ventilator machine. It was a few steps forward and a few steps back due to chronic lung disease and an open duct in his heart. He had infection after infection.
Noah had countless transfusions, antibiotics and other medications. So many X-rays, brain scans, ultrasounds, an EEG, an MRI to check for certain things, he was also treated for suspected meningitis.
When Noah was three weeks old, we were told the worst news that any parent could hear, Noah wouldn't be with us by the end of the day, so he was baptised and we wouldn't leave the hospital. But Noah proved the doctors wrong. After five weeks we were finally able to hold Noah, a moment we’ll never forget.
At 10 weeks old, Noah became poorly again, he needed to be re-ventilated and was transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care unit at St Thomas’/Evelina because he had developed a severe bowel condition and a disease called Retinopathy of Prematurity which can cause blindness. Specialists treated it with antibiotics for two weeks but unfortunately it didn't work completely, so he had 15cm of bowel removed and needed a stoma. Noah had to have injections in his eyes as the ROP was very aggressive and if it hadn't have been acted on quickly Noah would've been blind. Thankfully, a specialist saw Noah just in time.
When Noah was first transferred to London we didn’t have a clue what we were going to do, where we were going to stay. There was no way we could afford a hotel or travel by train each day from Folkestone to London but we couldn’t leave Noah up there all on his own. For the first three nights we were given a room in the NICU but on day four were told we couldn’t have the room any longer, going home was our only option. Someone must have been watching over us that day as we had a phone call from the lovely Esther from the team saying they had a room for us for as long as Noah was in the hospital.
Noah was transferred back to our local hospital after five weeks and came off oxygen last August. Noah’s due date (25 August) came and went and finally after 17 weeks and three days in hospital, we got the news we’d been waiting for; on the 4 September Noah was allowed home.
Noah is seen by a physio each week, has weekly eye check-ups and also hearing tests. Unfortunately, Noah is unable to hear properly and is going to need hearing aids which we are in the process of getting, we can’t wait for him to be able to hear us.
On 19 October, Noah was in the Evelina Hospital again for his stoma reversal operation. He stayed in the hospital for almost two weeks and came home on Halloween. We managed to get a room at the Ronald McDonald House thanks to Karlie for organising it all. We were so lucky that they had a room for us again and could be with Noah whilst he recovered from his operation.
If it wasn’t for the Ronald McDonald House and the wonderful staff we wouldn’t have been able to stay in London and be by Noah’s side each day. Having a bed to sleep in, a shower to wash and going back there in the evenings to meals cooked by the volunteers was such a weight off our minds.
Everyone that works and volunteers for Ronald McDonald House Guy’s and St Thomas’ do a brilliant job and we will never forget how they have helped us.