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Mother says “my son was in safest hands at NICU unit”

The mother of a baby born prematurely at the RUH has said a huge thank you for the wonderful care and treatment she received at the hospital’s neo-natal unit.

Kate Leonard’s baby son Joseph was born seven weeks early on June 24, weighing just 2lbs 13oz.

Thanks to the help and support from staff at the Dyson Centre for Neonatal Care (NICU) at the hospital, Joseph is now doing very well, gaining weight and growing fast.

Kate said: “It is such an amazing place. I cannot thank the staff enough, and it is a lovely environment.

“Nobody plans on these things happening. We never thought we would be in that situation, but it makes life so much easier when you feel so well looked after, and you know your baby is in the safest of hands.”

NICU and maternity services at the RUH generally has recently been awarded globally-recognised baby-friendly status by Unicef.

“The staff could not do enough to help us,” said Kate, and she and her partner Julian were allowed to visit Joseph at any time of the day or night.

“When it came near the time to bring him home, we were allowed to stay in a flat at the unit with Joseph, so that we could be nearby if there were any difficulties.

“The scariest thing is when you bring your baby home at first. You are so used to being surrounded by machines with alarms, monitoring his every breath.

“Then suddenly you are alone with this tiny baby and it can be very nerve-wracking.”

She gave birth to Joseph unexpectedly at 31 weeks after being diagnosed with preeclampsia, a potentially life-threatening condition for both mother and baby, by her health visitor.

“I went to a routine appointment at 31 weeks. I had no symptoms, and my health visitor picked it up straightaway.

“I gave birth unexpectedly that night. Thank God I had an appointment that day,” she said.

Joseph’s story, and many others like him, offers encouragement to other families of premature babies.

“It can be a very worrying time, but the staff at NICU are so dedicated and committed. There is nothing they would not do for you,” said Kate.

The Unicef award is in recognition of the care and support given to families of new-born babies in the area, and for work in supporting breastfeeding.

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