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"We missed out on very special milestones..."

4 minute read
"We missed out on very special milestones..."

Published at 6:00am 17th November 2019.

There years ago Farnham mum-to-be Bridget Walton gave birth prematurely at 29 weeks gestation.

Bridget Walton had developed eclampsia - a rare but serious condition where high blood pressure results in seizures during pregnancy.

Her baby Zoe was just 900 grams when she was born at St Peter's in Chertsey.

Bridget said it was a frightening time - and an upsetting one as she missed out on bonding with her daughter:

"I never realised she was going to be so small.

"I also wasn't prepared that I wasn't going to be able to hold her immediately.

"She was whisked away to the neo-natal ward."

"I lost out - I was put on a ward with other new mums and their babies, and had to hear their cries.

"And I didn't know where mine was - she wasn't with me."

The new mum was unwell and on medication and only got to see Zoe two days later:

"It was the first time I could hold her.

"She was in an incubator, she was so fragile, she had a little tiny hat on which was the same size as a tennis ball."

Once Zoe had reach one kilogram she was moved to the Royal Surrey, where she was cared for in the hospital's Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU).

Bridget tells us how hard it was leaving hospital - without her newborn baby:

"I was in the lift.

"There was another family there with their baby.

"They said to me 'where is your baby?'

"I burst into tears and my husband said 'she's here, we've had to leave her behind, she was born prematurely.'

"They didn't know what to say apart from just giving me a big hug."

Afterwards, Bridget visited Zoe in hospital daily until she was able to take her little baby home at nine weeks, weighting five pounds.

Since then, Zoe has grown into a healthy, happy three year old.

Zoe Walton

Now Bridget is behind a new initiative for parents whose premature and sick babies have to spend extended periods in the Royal Surrey's SCBU.

Parents can now follow their progress on a video messaging service so they can view their babies' progress.

It is something Bridget says could help mums and dads keep up with their babies' progress:

"We didn't have that and we did miss out on very special little moments and milestones of Zoe, because we couldn't be with her 24/7."

The service, vCreate, is being launched today - on World Prematurity Day - and is free for parents, funded by the Royal Surrey NHS Trust’s dedicated charity.

It allows neonatal staff to record and upload video diaries, which parents can then access when they are away from SCBU.

When babies are discharged from the unit, the videos can be downloaded by the parent as a record of their child’s journey. 

Premature baby video messaging service

The charity is also fundraising for a new SCBU unit at the hospital giving parents the option to stay overnight next to their babies' cot (Closer to Care campaign).

To find out more about the charity’s work or to make a donation to Closer to Care, visit www.rschcharity.org.uk/closertocare or call 01483 464146.