After three and a half years of recurrent miscarriages and a termination on medical grounds, my husband and I came to CRP hoping for help. Mr Shehata performed tests and created a plan for me. Sadly, I suffered another miscarriage but karyotyping showed it was a ‘true’ miscarriage (as opposed to an autoimmune one) so we decided to have one last attempt at a baby. I fell pregnant shortly after and the pregnancy seemed to stick. Professor Akolekar promised me the baby was looking anatomically good at the 14-week scan and that I could relax into the pregnancy. I did and it was all straight forward until the 28-week mark. I had a growth scan with Professor Akolekar and he reassured me that the baby was growing well and still sound, but my cervix had effaced and I was actually in labour. The clinic was quick to get me to Epsom hospital for a second opinion. They agreed and I was given all the medication required in an attempt to stem labour and prepare the baby for his imminent arrival. I was then transferred to St Helier’s, where the NICU was equipped to deal with the early gestation. The doctors managed to stop labour and, after 2 days, I was moved to the antenatal ward and given a room and put on bedrest. It was an anxious time for me, so far away from my two older kids and unsure of the future for our baby. We managed to hold back labour for almost a month and our baby was born at 31+5, just shy of the moderately preterm mark, but fully prepared thanks to steroids for his lungs and magnesium for his brain. He was born quickly on 29th November 2021 by emergency c-section and had no need for oxygen. Again, thanks to the efforts of everyone, Ralph was a “feed and grow” baby – needing no real intervention, just time with tube feeding and an incubator. We transferred back to our local hospital at 34 weeks and he was discharged on Christmas Eve – a wonderful and emotional early present. A slight relapse saw us back in hospital over New Year, but since then he has grown and flourished, particularly since weaning! This boy loves his food.

We would like to express our gratitude to Mr Shehata and Professor Akolekar. It would be easy to dwell on the difficulties of pregnancy and birth, but in truth we were so lucky with our outcome.

Here is a picture of Ralph, at 9 months old – 7 months adjusted – on holiday. He’s a real smiler – just happy to be here with his family!

Warmest wishes,

Caroline and Jonathan

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