On 1 November 2008 our son was born three and a half months early, for no apparent reason and with no time to prepare. Toby was born at 25 weeks at Warwick Hospital. He weighed 1 pound and 14 oz or 860g.
He was transferred to Walsgrave where he was cared for in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) for the first three months of his life. When we arrived at the NICU it was very daunting, but the presence of medical specialists and modern medical equipment was very reassuring for us.
The hours passed and we started to comprehend the implications of his early arrival. As he lay in his incubator for treatment and warmth, there was a constant stream of various doctors and nurses tending to his needs. Toby was tiny and often had something attached to every limb for all the different drugs. He needed to receive multiple medical interventions, including bagging for when his oxygen saturation became too low. They also used medication to close an open duct in his heart, medication for several infections and he needed photo therapy and eight blood transfusions.
Our little baby boy was on a ventilator for six weeks. The treatment used to get him off the ventilator was complicated, but he gradually progressed to only needing nasal prongs. When Toby moved to the high dependency unit, he no longer needed an incubator, but still needed to be kept warm; he slept on a heated mattress.
As he got stronger, he was transferred back to the special care unit at Warwick Hospital and during his time there he was transferred back and forth to specialist hospitals for laser treatment in both eyes and a hernia operation.
Eventually, he was able to do normal things like have a bath, wear clothes, feed without a tube and have lots of cuddles. With support from specialists, it took Toby another three months of slow weaning off the oxygen. Toby finally came home in April 2009!
Toby is now two years old. He is a very happy, healthy, beautiful bouncy boy with a good appetite for food and cuddles. We are very proud of him and immensely grateful for the many medical staff that looked after him.