Parents have spoken of their horror after their newborn son was rushed to a hospital in another county after he began vomiting green bile.
Charlie Aitchison and his petrified parents Jane Powell and Andy Aitchison travelled to Sheffield Children’s Hospital for lifesaving surgery just two days after his birth.
An earlier ultrasound scan had revealed Charlie had a blocked bowel and needed emergency treatment.
Mum Jane from Friskney, near Skegness, said she was crying as she made preparations to make the two-and-a-half hour trip to Sheffield after an agonising 13-hour labour.
She said: “We were terrified. Sobbing, we repacked the small overnight bag that we had brought with us to the hospital for the journey ahead.
“We had no idea that these would be the only possessions we would have with us for the next month.
“But we were in such a rush to be with Charlie there was no time to go home.
“We arrived at Sheffield Children’s Hospital , disorientated and exhausted. An X-ray showed that Charlie had a blocked bowel and he was taken straight into theatre.
“The next time we saw our baby he had two openings, called stomas, on the surface of his tummy to divert the flow of faeces.
“He was wired up to several different monitors with tubes in and out of his tiny body.”
But things went from bad to worse when Jane was diagnosed with a cellulitis infection around the caesarean scar, after doctors were forced to intervene during her labour.
Desperate to stay with their son, the pair ended up sharing a single bed for two nights at another hospital nearby.
“He was critical, but stable. And the doctors still didn’t know what was wrong with him, which was incredibly worrying,” said Jane.
But thanks to The Sick Children’s Trust, the couple were able to spend their third night away from home in the same hospital as Charlie.
Jane and Andy were only equipped with the clothes they were wearing, night clothes and one change of underwear.
However, staff at Treetop House – a home away from home at the hospital – were able to provide laundry and washing facilities for the couple.
Doctors performed a number of tests over several weeks until Jane and Andy received the devastating news that Charlie had cystic fibrosis (CF).
Jane said: “It was a terrible time for Andy and I. CF is a genetic disorder that affects mostly the lungs, but also the pancreas, liver, kidneys and intestine.
“Long-term issues include difficulty breathing and coughing up mucus as a result of frequent lung infections and the hardest thing for any parent to ever hear, premature death.”
Over the next week the couple were taught how to take care of Charlie, so they could finally go home when he was a month old.
The youngster, who recently turned two years old, now has monthly appointments at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.
However, it’s not been plain sailing for the family as Charlie has been admitted to hospital twice since – once for surgery and for a virus.
But Jane and Andy are determined he will have the best life possible and praised Charlie’s ‘bubbly’ character.
Jane said: “If anyone has a reason to be miserable it is Charlie, but he is a bouncy, bubbly, smiley little boy, who constantly pulls faces and makes everyone laugh.
“He has gone through more than most people will ever endure and I want to make sure his life is an incredible journey.
“Andy and I know that because of his condition there will be times when we are going to have to say no to keep him safe, but we are committed to always finding Charlie an alternative and are very hopeful for future developments in medical research.”
For further information about The Sick Children’s Trust, please visit http://www.sickchildrenstrust.org/.