Leah Oswald & Dave Bell, Stockton
On the 02.12.12 I had an emergency C section and Ava arrived 3 weeks early but otherwise healthy. After a night with the lovely night shift they discovered that Ava was being sick a lot through her nose, the following morning I was told that Ava had been moved to the NNU as they believed that she possibly had a sub mucous cleft palate which was later confirmed by the Cleft team. She was on the unit for a week and whilst there Dr’s on the unit decided to carry out further tests and decided Ava shouldn’t leave until they had further tests done on her bowel. One Dr in particular was adamant that Ava should attend the RVI for a scan as she wasn’t happy that Ava was 100%. Ava was operated on at 8 days old at the RVI at 3.00 am in the morning for a twisted bowel and happily the operation was a success. We were later to find out that Ava had further health implications due to a rare chromosome deletion, as a result we spent a lot of time at the RVI with Ava. One of the reasons I feel strongly about the unit at North tees is that while I was staying with Ava it is very isolating especially when your on such a huge emotional rollacoaster. Having friends and family being able to visit at North Tees provided that support network when you need it most, someone there for the good news and equally the bad. Ava has had 9 corrective surgeries to date and is thriving after a difficult start, she is developing well and apart from her speech being behind she is doing brilliantly. I can’t thank the Dr’s on the Neo Natal Unit at North tees enough for being so persistent and insisting on further scans being done, had we left the hospital Ava would have been a very poor girl even though she was showing no signs of any problems with her bowel. The Nurses on the unit where brilliant and showed me how to feed Ava with her bottles, Dr Harrikumar was also very supportive and has natural way with people. To close this unit would be such a shame its saving lives, providing support and its local for family’s, which I think is so very important.