Premature babies battle for survival at ‘edge of life’

The NHS spends more than £10m a year on babies born at 23 weeks

Babies born prematurely in the 23rd week of pregnancy exist on the very edge of life. A few go on to become “miracle babies”, but most die. The figures are stark, only nine out of 100 will survive, and of that number most are disabled. Is it always right to keep them alive?

“I can’t really get my head round how they’ve managed to keep her alive.”

Lucy’s daughter Matilda was born four months early at Birmingham Women’s Hospital, weighing one pound one ounce.

Within 20 seconds of her birth, her tiny body was placed into a plastic bag to prevent her losing too much heat or moisture.

She was carefully transferred into an incubator and hooked up to tubes and gadgets. Cutting-edge technology has been keeping her alive for four weeks.

Had Matilda been born one week earlier at 22 weeks – she would usually have been considered a miscarriage.

One week later at 24 weeks, her chances of survival would be much higher.

Thanks to decades of improving medical science 23 weeks is now considered the “edge of viability”. It is one week less than the limit for abortion at 24 weeks. .. continue reading

By Adam Wishart

Documentary Maker, 23 Week Babies: The Price of Life

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Goodbye Baby

Book: Goodbye BabyGoodbye Baby: Cameron’s Story’, a gentle and uplifting storybook which has been beautifully illustrated by Lindsay MacLeod.

The book provides comfort, understanding and reassurance for young children who have been affected by miscarriage in the family. Based on conversations between Gilliand and her son, Cameron, who was the inspiration for the story, ‘Goodbye Baby’ offers a platform for discussion with children.

‘Goodbye Baby’ is available to buy from Saint Andrew Press http://www.standrewpress.com/

‘Goodbye Baby’ has been endorsed by The Miscarriage Association:
“Beautifully written and illustrated, this wonderful book is a must for children and parents who need to talk about miscarriage but just can’t find the words.

If you or someone you know has been affected by miscarriage, please visit the Miscarriage Association for more information and support. Their website is http://www.miscarriageassociation.org.uk/

Baby Bereavement Awareness Film Needs Your Support

The director of Peekaboo Debbie Howard of Big Buddha Films is asking for your help to fund her latest short film. In her video Debbie introduces the cast and gives a brief description of the story line.

Stillbirth and miscarriage are such taboo subjects that they are rarely coverage by the film industry. The sheer lack of openness to discuss baby bereavement and it’s tragic effects on parents and their immediate family often means that friends will avoid contact with the family not because they don’t care but because they don’t know how to deal with the situation and can not find the words to convey their sympathy.

Some people are so terrified of saying the wrong thing that they say nothing at all and as a result the grieving parents are subjected to even more pain as their baby’s existence is left unacknowledged as though their baby had never been conceived.

 


If you would like to show your support then please visit the Peekaboo sponsorship page for more information.

Baby bereavement cards & premature baby burial gowns

Expressing ones sympathy to parents who have suffered the tragic loss of a baby is one of those difficult situations.  You want to show your sympathy, to let parents know that you care and that you are thinking of them in their time of sorrow.  However the words don’t come easy and family and friends are often at a loss, not knowing exactly what to say.

To help family and friends during these difficult times we have commissioned a selection of hand crafted baby bereavement cards.  Each card is lovingly hand made with a verse on the front of the card which reads..

Sending our heartfelt sympathy as your
little angel spreads their wings in heaven.

The verse inside the card that reads..

If we knew life would bring us pain.
Would we live each day with a sigh?
Sleeping peacefully with the Angels.
Upon God’s clouds so high.

Baby loss bereavement cards

Baby stillborn sympathy cards

Each card comes with it’s own envelope and is sealed in a clear cellophane card pocket.

Nothing can ever prepare you for the tragic loss of a baby, whether you or a family member have suffered a miscarriage, stillbirth or baby sadly passes away shortly after birth the grief is the same.  You are left feeling grief stricken, isolated and confused, which is why we have taken the worry out of finding dignified burial clothing for babies’ final sleep.

Our complete baby bereavement clothing sets are designed for easy dressing and have snap fastenings down the back of the garment. Available in sizes 0-1lb, 1-2lbs, 2-3lbs, 3-5lbs and 5-8lbs.

Please note: We do not use real babies as models; instead we use reborn baby dolls.

Baby burial gowns

Visit Prem2Pram the online baby store http://www.prem2pram.co.uk

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Mother’s miracle boy after 14 years trying to give birth

Author: By Sophie Goodchild, Health Editor
Source: London Evening Standard

A woman who endured a 14-year struggle to have her “miracle” son has been reunited with the doctor who helped her become a mother.

Lucy Fitzpatrick gave birth to Louis on her 40th birthday after seven attempts at IVF, a twin miscarriage and two tries at using surrogates. She finally became pregnant naturally, but then developed serious complications and gave birth prematurely.

The property developer from central London, who is now 47, was helped to have her son by the research centre at St Thomas’ Hospital, funded by baby charity Tommy’s. Last week, she returned with Louis, seven, to thank its head of obstetrics Professor Andy Shennan and his team.

In an interview with the Standard, Mrs Fitzpatrick, who conceived Louis naturally, called for more funding for research into preventing complications during pregnancy.

She said: “My story gives people huge hope. The reason I’m supporting Tommy’s is we wouldn’t be here without them. Having Louis after such a struggle was both unreal and exceptional. I had amazing care but other women aren’t so fortunate.”

A total of 296 babies in England and Wales every year are stillborn, 3,359 born premature and 8,398 women experience a miscarriage. Yet medical research into pregnancy complications receives little funding in the UK.

Professor Shennan said there had been huge advances in finding ways to prevent premature birth but there was still a “long way to go”. He added: “Seeing Louis now makes my job all the more worthwhile. We’re making a real impact but we have a lot more to do. There is a huge cost attached to premature birth — about £3 billion to the NHS.

“This is why research into treatments such as giving women hormones which stop the womb relaxing is so important.”

Mrs Fitzpatrick first became pregnant at the age of 26 with twins but lost one at nine weeks and miscarried the second at 18 weeks. It took 13 years before she became pregnant again naturally after 10 attempts at IVF and six tries at using surrogates.

Because of her history, she was referred to Professor Shennan who administered a cervical stitch to stop her going into premature labour. But doctors discovered she had developed a medical condition where the liver stops functioning properly which can lead to stillbirth.

Doctors delivered Louis via Caesarean section at 34 weeks in February 2003. He spent time in intensive care and Mrs Fitzpatrick needed a blood transfusion because of problems with her placenta.
Tommy’s said January was the time many couples decide to start trying for a baby but pregnancy complications are more common than many people think.

The St Thomas’ centre houses almost 40 clinicians and scientists who work to find the causes and prevention of premature birth.

This month Asda will be fundraising for Tommy’s in a bid to beat the £400,000 they raised last year.

If you’ve just welcomed a premature baby into your life then please visit Prem2Pram our premature baby clothes are lovingly hand made in the UK to fit premature babies from 1lb upwards.

Should the unthinkable happen then our lovingly hand made baby burial gowns will ensure your baby’s final sleep is both serene and dignified.

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