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Tiny baby thrives thanks to children's charity
in Echo News
AFTER three miscarriages and three stillbirths, little Beau Pulham is his parents’ miracle baby. But the tot has had a tough start to life. He was born when mum Emma Avery was just 26 weeks pregnant.
Beau arrived on February 6 weighing just 1lb 1oz - equivalent to only half a bag of sugar and months before his due date of May 16.
Emma, 38, said: “We were completely overwhelmed, we were excited to meet our baby boy but we were also filled with worry for him. He was so small.”
Emma started suffering chest pains three days before the birth and her partner Darren Pulham, 38, took her straight to Southend Hospital. A blood test confirmed the serious condition pre-eclampsia and she was transferred to specialist hospital, the Rosie in Cambridge 70 miles away.
She said; “I panicked. Being told that I had to go to a higher level hospital really scared me and I knew from this point onwards that my condition was serious.
“I had to have an emergency C-section. We were terrified. It was so early for our baby to be born and we were really frightened about what was going to happen.
“ Beau was immediately taken to the neo-natal intensive care unit but there was nowhere for his parents to stay until the Sick Children’s Trust stepped in with “home from home” accommodation at Chestnut House.
Emma, of Herbert Grove, Southend, said: “The thought of being so far away from Beau was just unimaginable.
“Beau's doctors told us that his condition could change at any moment and they had to take it hour by hour. “The thought of something happening and us not being with him was so upsetting, we would have slept on the hospital floor if we had to.
“So when a nurse told us about the Sick Children's Trust, we felt a weight being lifted off our shoulders.”
They stayed at the house while Beau was treated over the next three months. During this time he suffered chronic lung disease, a heart condition which occurs when the foetal blood vessel fails to close after birth, and his left lung collapsed which left him on a ventilator for 35 days.
He went through three lumbar punctures, 14 blood transfusions and was diagnosed with septicaemia. He also had a loss of blood flow to his left hand causing it to turn black.
Emma said: “We had a feeling of utter helplessness. For a time we thought that he may lose his hand as a result, which was really traumatic. Fortunately doctors were able to save his hand, but he did lose two of his fingertips.
“The three months Beau was in the Rosie were heart breaking; every day presented a new challenge and we were so scared for him. It seemed like every time we started to relax, thinking Beau was one step closer to recovery, something else got in the way and a new diagnosis or treatment was necessary. Needless to say, Chestnut House became our sanctuary.”
Eventually Beau was well enough to be transferred to Southend where he stayed for another month before finally making it home on June 3.
Now almost seven months old Beau weighs 11lbs the weight of an average two month old and is still on oxygen 24 hours a day. His immune system is very immature and he must avoid anyone who is unwell and is at high risk of developing bronchiolitis.
He is not yet able to eat solid food as his gut is still developing. While behind other babies his age, he is expected to be able to come off of oxygen by his first birthday.
Emma, who has a son Jack, 18, from a previous relationship, while Darren has two other children Holly and Harry, added: “He has been through so much in his life but he has been so strong. He’s a lovely boy and rarely cries and is full of giggles.
“I could be by Beau's side every day when he needed because of The Sick Children's Trust and Darren believes that this is why Beau came through his illness.
I was able to bond with him and his doctors used to say that he reacted to my voice and touch in a positive way.”
The Sick Children's Trust provides free accommodation for families who have seriously ill children at six major children's hospitals, for information visit www.sickchildrenstrust.org
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