The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust is helping to raise awareness of babies who are born prematurely for World Prematurity Day on Tuesday 17 November.
15 million babies are born too soon each year across the globe - that’s 29 babies every minute*. Around one million of these babies will not survive.
Having a premature baby can turn your world upside down, and thousands of families face an extremely traumatic time when their baby comes early.
Baby Millie Grace Donbavand is currently in the Neonatal Unit at Pinderfields Hospital after being born at 24 weeks gestation weighing 1lb 4oz on 1 August at Dewsbury and District Hospital. Her mum, Chelsea, came into the hospital after starting with contractions before her due time. Unfortunately the nurses were unable to prevent Millie coming and within 45 minutes, she was born.
Baby Millie was then transferred to a specialist unit at Leeds General Infirmary where she stayed for eight weeks in intensive care. Whilst there she underwent laser eye surgery due to a condition known as Retinopathy of Prematurity, when the retinal blood vessels do not develop normally in babies that are born prematurely. If it isn’t diagnosed and treated early it can cause a serious loss of vision. Millie’s eyes are now back to normal.
Mum Chelsea said: “All the hospitals have been brilliant, and we know that Millie is in good hands.”
And dad, James said: “I can’t fault them – they’ve been great!”
Baby Millie is now 4lb 6oz and being cared for at the Neonatal Unit at Pinderfields Hospital where she will stay until her lungs are stronger and when she no longer needs to be fed via a tube. Proud mum and dad are able to take Millie out of her intensive care cot twice a day for a cuddle, and are looking forward to the time when they can take her home for good.
They said: “It would be lovely to have Millie back in time for Christmas – we are shortly moving into a new house, so hopefully it will be ‘new house, new baby’ for us!”
Julia Thomas, Neonatal Nurse at Pinderfields Hospital said: “Care at our Neonatal Units is the very best way to ensure that the smallest and sickest babies get the best possible care and the best chance of surviving healthily. Having a premature or sick baby can be traumatic but all neonatal staff know that parents are under stress and are there to help and support them, as well as their baby.”
Chelsea is full of praise for the Neonatal Unit: “Everyone has been really great. Staff are like friends, and they support me when I need reassuring. I’ve also got to know other parents on the Unit – we’ve all got something in common!”
Millie will receive specialist care in the Neonatal Unit until 19 November (her original due date), when, all being well, she will then be allowed home, much to the delight of mum Chelsea and dad James.
* Figures from Bliss (the UK charity working to provide care and support for all premature and sick babies and their families).
Photo caption: Parents Chelsea and James enjoying a special moment with Tracey Stokes, Registered Nurse.