Two mums have been busy fundraising for the neonatal unit at Airedale hospital, reaching a fantastic total of nearly £2,500.
Bria Horsfield and Emma Chambers both had premature babies born at Airedale in 2019.
Both babies, Harrison and Emilia, had to be transferred for special care at the unit in Burnley, and were cared for in neighbouring incubators. The mums formed a solid friendship, and when their babies were transferred back to Airedale they returned as close friends.
After receiving excellent care at the neonatal unit at Airedale, they wanted to raise some money to give something back. They did many different fundraising activities including competitions and raffles throughout lockdown.
Emma shares her story of Emilia being born:
“Suffering from severe pre-eclampsia meant that Emilia had to be born at 27 weeks, a lot earlier than we had expected. She weighed 1lb 4oz and had to be transferred out to Burnley Women’s Hospital.
“Over the next few weeks, we were told on numerous occasions that she wouldn’t make it through the night. We sat hour by hour looking at our baby in an incubator, on a breathing machine.
“Luckily, after weeks of worrying, Emilia had other ideas and continued to fight her way through. Around the six week mark, things started to look up slightly and we were finally able to hold our baby. As time went on, Emilia got stronger and stronger.
“Our miracle baby finally made it back to Airedale Hospital and the nurses helped us prepare to go home. After 130 days, we finally took our baby home.
“We wanted to try to raise as much money as we could to help other families that have to go through the ups and downs of life with a premature baby. Although premature babies are tiny, they are mighty and deserve recognition for the fight they put up when they have everything against them.”
Harrison also had a difficult start to life, as his mum Bria explains:
“Expecting twins we knew that there was a chance of delivering our babies a couple of weeks early, little did we know that they would come 14 weeks earlier than expected. The chances of survival for having a baby this premature were slim. When Charlie and Harrison were born they were moved to Burnley before we even had a chance for a cuddle.
“We lost count of how many times we were told by doctors that they might not make it through the night. We were thankful for each day that went by.
“Sadly, in December 2019 Charlie gained his angel wings in our arms.
“We had to keep going as Harrison needed us to be strong. After a long journey, Harrison made it back to Airedale’s neonatal unit. The nurses at Airedale made us feel so welcome. They helped us give him his first bath after 16 weeks! We finally made it home after 121 days.
“This was the hardest time of our lives and we will always be grateful to the neonatal unit staff. We wanted to do some fundraising to give a little something back to the unit and to the families that may need to use it in the future. We have enjoyed doing all the fundraising activities especially as they have helped to virtually bring people together throughout the pandemic.”
Sarah Szpara, senior sister on the neonatal unit, said, “We’re so proud of what these women have achieved. They went through such a difficult time and have come through so strong. They’ve been working really hard to raise this money for the unit and we’re so grateful.”
Sarah explains that the money will be spent on breast pumps to loan to new mums and comfy chairs for the parents’ room on the unit.
“Buying new breast pumps means we will be able to loan a new pump to every mum on the unit. Breast milk is so important for new babies as it contains important nutrients for development, but mums aren’t able to breast feed in the normal way. Lending out breast pumps means that mums can take them home to express milk which can then be fed to their baby.
“I can’t even describe how much of a positive difference this will make to the families being cared for on our unit. It’s absolutely brilliant.”
Airedale’s neonatal unit (special care baby unit) cares for babies born who need special observation, monitoring, investigations and treatments. Babies may stay on the unit for only a few hours or up to 16 weeks depending on their age and how much care they need.