'Our inspiration' - Baby born four months early survives fight for life
- Credit: Family
An inspirational St Neots baby delivered four months early has battled 14 blood transfusions and survived sepsis – after being born weighing just over one pound.
Rory Byers was delivered by emergency C-Section in June last year, when mum Kimberly, 33, contracted sepsis after her waters broke at just 24 weeks.
The family had no clue what lay ahead for them – with Rory being born weighing just over one pound – the size of a tin and a half of tomatoes.
Husband Glenn, 34, had to wait in “absolute hell” as medics weren’t sure if baby or mum would survive.
But after Rory was safely delivered - four months ahead of his due date in October - he was taken straight to the newborn intensive care unit (NICU) at Addenbrooke’s.
At just two-weeks-old, Rory had a bowel infection – with half of his bowel removed during emergency surgery on the NICU. He was so poorly; he couldn’t even be taken to theatre.
He was also born with sepsis, caught MRSA and needed a staggering 14 blood transfusions.
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Older brother Zak, aged three, is still yet to meet him.
Kimberly, who works as a nanny in Cambridge, explained: “Everything was fine during my pregnancy, and I didn’t even think it was my waters that had broke at first.
“I was told to do pelvic floor exercises but something just felt wrong.
“You know your own body.”
Kimberly wasn’t in labour at this point; and in a matter of days things got worse when she developed sepsis in the womb.
“It all happened so quickly, and Glenn and I were then warned about survival rates and that the doctor needed me to deliver the baby now.
“I opted for a C-Section and the last time I saw the clock was at 11.50pm - Rory was born at 12.01am.
“But I didn’t get to meet him until he was 18 hours old.”
Zak had to be looked after by grandparents, and his life, too, was suddenly turned upside down.
Rory, who looks set to be in hospital until spring, has now managed to grow in size and be the weight a baby of his age should be.
He is currently getting nourishment through a Hickman line, but nurses are confident that he can be weaned off this and move on to full feeds soon.
“He is such an inspiration – it's been quite a journey,” Kimberly said.
“We have watched him almost die several times.”
Kimberly’s paid maternity leave finishes in March and Rory may not be home by then.
Therefore, the family are campaigning to get the new neonatal pay entitlement in place now – not April 2023 as was agreed in last year’s budget.
It means parents whose babies are in neonatal care for over a week will be entitled to statutory paid leave for every further week their baby is on the unit up to a maximum of 12 weeks.
“We have missed out on so many things - it felt like I lost my newborn,” Kimberly said.
“It’s becoming more common that babies are born early, so I feel angry that this is ready to go but is not in place yet.
“We will have no financial benefit from this, but if by campaigning to bring it forward helps one other family then that would be worth us doing this.
“How can I go back to work when my baby is still in hospital?
“All our bills and food are still the same but my wages have reduced dramatically.”
Paying for hospital parking and fast-food takeout's have become the norm for the family, too.
Kimberly added: “Your time is so precious; you do not want to leave your baby’s side.
“You are just surviving – but it still costs money.”
A Go Fund Me account was created after a friend of the family stepped in to help them out – in a bid to help raise £5,000.
“I cannot thank everyone enough,” Kimberly added.
“The amazing care that Addenbrooke’s NICU have given us – I owe them everything.”