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"The hardest thing I’ve ever had to do" - Farnham mum on leaving her baby in special care

Sarah Benton with baby Edward

Published by the Eagle Radio News Team at 3:34pm 15th May 2019.

“To hear another baby crying at night and to not be able to hold or be near my own little baby…that was heartbreaking.”

Those are the thoughts of Sarah Benton, a 37-year-old mum from Farnham who had to leave hospital without her baby son Edward after he was admitted to the Special Care Baby Unit at the Royal Surrey.

She is now supporting a fundraiser that will help pay for the redevelopment of the unit, which will see parents able to stay there overnight and avoid others having to face the same experience.

Edward spent 10 days at the unit following his birth by emergency caesarean section in March, after a scan revealed he didn’t have enough fluid around him.

He was born with a knot in the umbilical cord and was taken straight from theatre to special care to be stabilised.

Despite receiving what she described as “amazing care”, Sarah said the hardest part was not being able to stay with her newborn baby on the unit overnight.

She said:

“Being away from Edward is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.

"I was on a postnatal bay with lots of other mums who all had their babies with them and it was very upsetting and very isolating – to hear another baby crying at night and to not be able to hold or be near my own little baby…that was heartbreaking.”

In partnership with Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, the official hospital charity has today (15 May) launched a £500,000 appeal to redevelop the unit so that parents will be able to stay there overnight and have better contact with their newborns.

Sarah added:

“I didn’t hurt when I was with him.

"When Edward was in the incubator, he was hooked up to a monitor for his oxygen levels, heart rate and respiratory rate, and they all improved when he was on my chest.”

The project will allow parents with babies who are born sick or premature to help care for and be close to their baby at any time – making it the first unit of its type in Surrey.

Dr Mark Evans, Chief of Service for Women and Children at the hospital, said:

"There are many benefits for both baby and parent when families are more involved in their babies’ care – including improved long-term health outcomes, enhanced bonding, reduced hospital stays and reduced stress.

“Being able to stay overnight will not only benefit mum and baby – it will mean the baby’s dad also has the option to stay with his child.

"This can be particularly helpful if one parent or carer needs to return home or if the mother is still receiving care on the postnatal ward.”

To make a donation or to find out more about the campaign, visit the Royal Surrey County Hospital Trust Charity website or call the them on 01483 464146.

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