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Charlie flies home to receive neonatal care

Derriford Hospital, Plymouth

St James's University Hospital, Leeds

320 miles

Expectant parents, Amy and James, had just enjoyed a week-long stay in Devon and were just about to set off back home to Leeds when Amy started to experience some signs of labour. It quickly became very clear that her baby was going to be born early. The couple dropped everything and rushed to hospital. A spontaneous placenta abruption caused the baby’s heart rate to drop rapidly so their son had to be born via emergency C-section. Charlie was born nine weeks early weighing just 3lb. Amy says: “Charlie arrived in a poor condition. Within 20 minutes of birth he received a blood transfusion and was on ventilation and oxygen. I was under general anesthetic due to the immediate risk and therefore wasn’t aware of the situation but my husband was. You can imagine what a scary time this was for my husband with both his wife and child in theatre, and unable to be there in the theatre himself.”

In the days after his birth, the main focus for everyone was improving Charlie’s stability. Charlie was being cared for in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and faced up to a three month stay in Derriford Hospital which was over 320 miles from their home in Leeds. Amy says: “It was hard being so far away from family with the exception of my husband’s brother and girlfriend who we had been visiting. However, the staff in Plymouth were brilliant and did everything they could to make us feel at home and that we weren’t alone in that situation.”

Charlie 1
Charlie 2

After a week of close monitoring, the staff at Derriford Hospital suggested that Charlie was stable enough to be transferred to a hospital closer to home but the only way he could travel the long distance home was by aeroplane. A six-hour road journey would cause too much distress for Charlie and a helicopter would not be safe in the current weather conditions that were being caused by Storm Gareth. The NICU team contacted Lia's Wings to transfer Charlie from Derriford Hospital to St James’s University Hospital. The couple were so relieved to find out they were going home! Amy says: “The thought of going home was something for us to focus on. The NICU team at Derriford Hospital were amazing but it was such a relief to be going home to be closer to family.”

After just nine days of being cared for in the NICU at Derriford Hospital, Lia's Wings flew Charlie and Amy back home to Leeds. Amy and Charlie were greeted at St James’s University Hospital by Amy’s husband James and her parents. She recalls: “When we landed I had a sudden realisation that we still had a long road ahead with Charlie but it was such a relief to be back home with our friends and family. The transfer meant so much to us! Charlie did amazing on the flight considering he was literally just over a week old and he seemed to take well to his new temporary home.”

Charlie 3
Charlie 4

Amy, James and their extended family have continued to fundraise for Lia's Wings through various community events, corporate sponsorship, a golf club captaincy. We cannot thank the Barrett/Edmondson family enough for their support of our charity and passion to help another family like theirs.

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