Ryan the star of and reason for this site is my
grandson. Here is a picture of him with my son - his Uncle
David. We do not think of Ryan as a "Special Needs"
child we all know that he is a "Special Child".
He was a year old in this picture!
Looks cute huh. But things were not always this good.
Ryan was born at Treliske Hospital, Truro, Cornwall UK
to our daughter Debra, on April 25th 1998 - 17 weeks premature (23 weeks
into pregnancy). He weighed just 1lb that's less than
half a kilo and things looked bad. You could actually see
right through his skin to his internal organs and blood
vessels. We did not take any photos of him then.
He was baptized the next morning because we were warned
he had very little chance of surviving. Phone calls were made
to all the family and a lot of tears were shed. There was also
anger "why us". Then the "Why her"
syndrome set in with a vengeance. My daughter, MY BABY,
had never done anything to hurt anyone. She was (and still is)
soft and gentle, taking in all the "lame dogs" who cross her
path. Then one day surfing on the net to find information
about very premature babies (the information was depressing) I found this
little story. For anyone else who goes through the "Why
me" or "Why us" stage please click
here or go to the "Special Mother" page of this site.
None of us are religious but believe me we all prayed
hard for Ryan. "Please God, not again,
don't let it happen to her again". The first 24 hours
passed very slowly and because we dreaded the phone ringing and hearing
"that message" from the hospital we had to ask the family not to
phone us, we would phone them.
We were happy when he had
survived 48 hours assuming that the longer he managed to go on the better
it would be, but then the staff in the Special Care Baby
Unit (SCBU - skiboo as it's called) told us that the next 48 hours
would be even harder for him than the first. We have now been
told that Ryan is the youngest baby to have survived in the South West.
When Debbie came home from hospital (they lived
with us) having to leave Ryan in the special unit, we had hidden all the
baby clothes and bits and pieces that she had been buying for her baby.
Anyway, each hour and each day that went by we gained
confidence in the little mite. We took turns going with Debbie
to the hospital each day to sit and watch the incubator.
is a funny part of England. It sticks out on the end like a
foot. It's a long thin County more like a peninsula and not
very densely populated so wherever you live in the County the sea is close
by but your nearest hospital can be an hour away. We live in
the middle of the County and Truro (where Treliske is) is about 45 minutes
(on a good day) by car .
Here are a couple of pictures just to show you what such
a tiny child looks like.
tube to make him breath was bigger than he was. Click on small
pictures that have blue borders to see the full photo
Not a good picture but it shows the size of the baby.
He was not a cute baby.
All the nurses and doctors at the unit were fantastic.
They said he obviously had a lot of fight in him. I started
joking that with a will that strong he'd be a terror when he got to two
years old. It made me feel better to make references to his
future, sort of daring fate to take it away from him.
Gradually he grew a little and even started to put on
weight. Then came the day we were allowed to touch him and by
June, when he was two months old, we were able to hold him outside of the
incubator for a short time.
Then later his father
Then we all wanted a cuddle. The nurses used
a polaroid camera kept on the unit to take these photos for us.
They hid the tubes and wires as best they could so that we had
"nice" photos to show around. Little thoughtful
things like that make such a lot of difference.
Like all premature babies he had (amongst other things)
jaundice and was a horrible yellow colour but with special lights and
drugs through his tubes he got over that. Then we noticed his
head. It was getting bigger, growing fast and the skin looked
very tight and shiny. Scans were being done and tests.
The main problem for very premature babies is not the size they are but
the fact that they are not fully developed when they are born.
This leads to all kinds of problems. Ryan's head was swelling
because the fluid was not draining away properly. He was
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