TO mark World Prematurity Day tomorrow a Thurrock family has shared the story of a toddler’s fight for life after he was born 15 weeks prematurely.
Freddie Kemp, from Grays, was born in 2017 at 25 weeks gestation, weighing 1lb 15oz and spent the first four months of his life in hospital.
However, he is now thriving and enjoying his first year at Orsett Primary School.
Due to his prematurity Freddie required urgent specialist medical attention at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge and was immediately transferred by the Acute Neonatal Transfer Service (ANTS) with his parents, Lewis and Emma also making the 90 minute journey.
Freddie was admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and due to breathing difficulties caused by his undeveloped lungs, he was intubated upon arrival. During the first few days of his life he also suffered a perforated intestine.
This was initially treated with a drain by making a small incision made in his stomach to reduce the swelling, but this was unsuccessful as his stomach started to swell. He needed two further operations to locate the perforation and subsequently to remove the damaged section which was successful.
The surgeons then fitted a temporary stoma to allow his digestive system to continue to function during his recovery. His second operation was to reconnect his intestine and reverse the stoma.
While recovering Freddie also suffered from a NEC infection, which was causing his intestine to become inflamed and a grade one bleed on the brain.
In total Freddie spent 125 days in Addenbrooke’s Hospital and his parents could always be by his side as they were supported by The Sick Children’s Trust’s ‘Home from Home’ Chestnut House.
Chestnut House is located just minutes from the ward, in the hospital building and gives families a warm and comfortable place to stay close to their seriously ill child.
Now dad Lewis is sharing their experience for World Prematurity Day, Wednesday, 17 November.
He said: “The whole experience of being on NICU and trying to come to terms with Freddie’s arrival was immensely difficult. There were times when we simply just broke. You have no control over what is happening and there is little to nothing we could do to help our new born son other than just be there.
“The head nurse introduced us to the wonderful staff at Chestnut House which was situated just two floors below NICU. The Sick Children’s Trust provided us with a ‘Home from Home’ for the first month Freddie was in hospital so we could be with our son day and night, throughout all the tough times.
“Remarkably he has recovered well from all his conditions and doesn’t seem as if anything is going to slow him down.
“He recently started school, where he absolutely loves going, and it’s another massive milestone he has reached.
“He is a happy, healthy and extraordinary little boy.”
Every year, The Sick Children’s Trust gives over 600 families with a baby, many who have been born premature, in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit one less thing to worry about by giving them a place to stay, free of charge just minutes from their child’s bedside.
Trust chief executive Jane Featherstone said: “Freddie spent an especially long time in hospital miles away from his home and without The Sick Children’s Trust Lewis and Emma would have faced long drives or expensive hotel bills to be with him.
“Wednesday, 17 November marks World Prematurity Day and we’re asking everyone to consider making a £30 donation to The Sick Children’s Trust so that more families, like Freddie’s, can be supported with a place to stay close to their bedside.”
For further information about The Sick Children’s Trust, or to donate, visit sickchildrenstrust.org