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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".

davy_r1.jpg (213915 bytes)


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.  

Cornwall 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.

ry10.jpg (45013 bytes)The tube to make him breath was bigger than he was.  Click on  small pictures that have blue borders to see the full photo

ry12.jpg (52415 bytes)  Not a good picture but it shows the size of the baby.

ry7.jpg (50807 bytes)  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.
Deb_ry1.jpg (100046 bytes)    First his mum    Clive_~1.jpg (67036 bytes)   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 Hydrocephalic.

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