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Freddie was born on Saturday 21st May 2011 @ 17.42pm, 28 weeks+2, weighing just 730 grams (1lb 9ozs). He was born 11½ weeks premature. Prior to birth, Freddie was transferred from Royal Free in London to the NICU (Neonatal Incubation Care Unit) at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford, Kent; the only incubator available, 86 miles away & delivered! We traveled to visit him everyday & finally, after 35 days & an exhausting 3000 miles, he was transferred to Barnet Hospital, just 4 miles away from home! Six weeks later, after a total of 12 weeks (82 days) at hospital, Freddie was finally allowed to go home, on oxygen support for his due date - his 0th birthday! His weight today, is 8400 grams (18lbs 5ozs) & his next weight recording is 1.12.12. He has had 2 hernia operations at Great Ormond Street and is due another at his 4th hospital. This is our story...

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Day 7 at Home with #FreddieWM

Okay, so after this post...on this blog I intend to reduce daily updates. After nearly 30,000 readers my aim is to continue once every week or on special occasions.....e.g. operations, birthdays and visitors etc. I will post headlines so that you can all see when the next update is due, so have no fear!

I was talking with a friend earlier today and I am still surprised how popular Freddie's blog has been....On reflection, it was a huge risk opening Freddie's fight for life, for the world, as each day, we did not know what would happen....I guess this has been the blogs unique selling point; that it was 'live' and still is, as Freddie develops and makes his start out in life...but at the back of my mind, I always feared having to write about the worst case scenario.
Mummy and Daddy still pray every night at bedtime, thanking God for all the doctors and nurses who helped care for Freddie. We have ordered some unique presents to present to the staff and we look forward to that magical day, when we take Freddie back to meet the staff (of both hospitals) and hand over Freddie's gift. For those who have experienced Neo-Natal wards, you will know what it is...

For Freddie, I am still overwhelmed that he is here. It is a brilliant feeling to look across the room and see him with us. My wishes are, that he leads a happy and successful life and we have may wonderful days together as parents, playing in the park; laughing with our extended family, watching him walk and play and so on....Most of all, we hope he is able to read through this blog, understanding what a little miracle he is. After-all, we still do not know how 'his prematurity' will affect his development, if at all.

Last night, our Transitional Care nurse finally gave Freddie's discharge letter to us. It is fairly comprehensive, so at the end of our first week home, I thought I would list for you all, what Freddie has endured over the past 13 weeks.

Freddie was born by C-section, he was in breech and pulled out of Mummy's tummy by one foot and leg. On his notes it states the following, Resuscitation given via face mask. Heart-rate at birth 100bpm. Freddie had some respiratory effort at birth; I remember hearing his squeal behind the cesarean curtain, but he was given x10 inflation breathes via the mask and his heart-rate improved.
He was intubated at the 3rd attempt (this is the tubing placed down his throat, to be attached to the ventilator) at 9 minutes of age. Curosurf, which is Surfactant to stimulate the lungs was given, 120mg (note, Mummy received these injections 2 weeks or so before Freddie came early) and then he was transferred to NICU after saying a brief hello to Mummy and Daddy.

Reading these notes and typing them here, it is the first time a) I have seen/read them and b) really digested what a lucky man I am to have Freddie in the world. It is a miracle how he has survived.

In his incubator, within the first 1 hour...Freddie was given vitamin K via an intravenous line and had x2 APGARs recorded. A score of 5 at 1 minute and 8 at 5 minutes! This is fully explained on this APGAR table on this link. We did not see Freddie for 2 hours after delivery. I will never forget having to go and face him for the 1st time on my own. The blue photo, top-left of this blog, shows the image I first saw of my son......Below are his conditions:
  1. Prematurity 28+2 weeks

  2. Chronic Lung Disease

  3. Inguinal right Hernia

  4. Left testicle Hydrocele

  5. Suspected Meningitis - x3wks of antibiotics

  6. Conjugated Jaundice

  7. Patency of the Arterial Duct (PDA)

  8. x3 doses to close the duct

  9. Pre-birth steroids for lungs

  10. Gastro-esophageal reflux

  11. Metabolic bone disease -

  12. Intubated

  13. CPAP ventilation and High Frequency Oscillation Ventilation x2

  14. Renal tract ultrasound scan

  15. Abdominal ultrasound scan

  16. Cranial ultrasound scan

  17. Retinal examinations

  18. Nasogastric tube insertion

  19. x4 blood transfusions

  20. countless medications and vitamins e.g. morphine

Problems at discharge:
  1. On oxygen support

  2. Conjugated hyperbilirubinamia

  3. Osteopenia of prematurity

  4. GORD

  5. Ingunial right hernia

Freddie had a total of 65 days in Intensive Care, (35 at our first hospital) 15 days of Special Care and 2 days in isolation. A total of 82 days.

There is much more to record, but I fear it is too complicated for myself and you to understand.

Below are a couple of photographs showing all the nurses who cared for Freddie at Barnet Hospital. This was for 47 days. Each day, the nurses had to sign his medical notes as a record of who looked after him. It was always a useful record for us to see who cared for him on the night-shift.

So, apart from a tiring and blissful day at home, marred by the awful British summer weather, I leave you with this image (below) of Freddie snoozing on my chest as I type this post. It is my new favourite hobby....I promise to post more of his photos from his time in hospital; plus a family photo.

I am still making his video for you all to see, this will go live, sometime next week when I edit all the clips. The short film will give you a very real insight into the world of premature babies from a parents point of view. Do you think it is a good idea to password-protect the film and give access to readers once they have donated to Bliss/JustGiving? It is a very personal film. Others have sometimes questioned our public profile of Freddie....and although I am a traditionalist and it may be a surprise to those that know me, but I can sometimes be very prude, writing ths blog has been very good therapy...
A date for your dairy, Freddie's hernia operation is on Tuesday 20th September 2011 at Great Ormond Street hospital.

Oh, and p.s. if you are reading this and have not donated £1 to Freddie's chosen charity, Bliss. Please do so here - or text "FRED82 £1" to 70070.

Thank you has been quite a journey, which has not quite reached the end...
Jenni, Ross and Freddie.

- follow Freddie on Twitter at #FreddieWM or my wife @JenniMcGill. You can even follow my thoughts @rossmcgill, @TeacherToolkit or @DodgyEye.