Kirby & Dale Squires, Sunderland

Neonatal Special Care

When my daughter was born at 31 weeks, she was taken immediately to Durham Neonatal Special Care Baby Unit and placed on Cpap. She was a good weight at 3lb 14oz and appeared to be of reasonable health.

At 23 hours old, Siena suffered a severe pneumothorax believed to be caused by the strength of the Cpap machine. It took out 90% of her right lung’s capacity and nearly killed her. As Durham University Hospital didn’t have the expertise or equipment Siena needed to survive, she was transferred to North Tees Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

I’ll never forget the journey towards North Tees, we’d waited for several hours whilst the Doctors tried to stabilise Siena’s condition so that she was well enough to travel. Her condition was worsening and eventually the decision was made to travel whilst Siena was unstable. We followed the ambulance as it was blue lighted all the way and arrived at North Tees around 2am.

As we walked down the corridor of the Neonatal unit, relief started to kick in. It was obvious from the start that Siena was in the best of hands. Jayne was the 1st face we saw. She was cheery and welcoming and put our minds straight to rest.

Myself and my partner lived at the hospital in a family room for 11 days. It was a magnificent facility that allowed us to care for Siena as much as we possibly could. The nurses were supportive and allowed us to do Siena’s cares whenever possible. They taught us how to handle a preterm baby and showed us what signs to look out for. I never felt as though anything was hidden from me, I was allowed to explore Siena’s equipment and become familiar with noises, beeps, flashes and lines. All of which made me feel confident when around Siena.

It was at North Tees where Siena met most of her initial milestones. After 11 days, Siena was strong enough to return back to the special care baby unit at Durham University Hospital. We’ll never forget the staff at North Tees, the way they cared for Siena in her most vulnerable moments will always stay with me. Also, the way they looked after me and made sure I was strong enough – I don’t know if I could have been so calm without them.