Brave Callum battled to live
PUBLISHED: 12:46 06 April 2006 | UPDATED: 11:39 04 May 2010
PATRICK and Lorraine Smith have launched an ambitious fund-raising appeal for the two hospitals, Cambridge s Rosie Maternity Hospital and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King s Lynn, which cared for their son. We owe the two hospitals so much for their tir
PATRICK and Lorraine Smith have launched an ambitious fund-raising appeal for the two hospitals, Cambridge's Rosie Maternity Hospital and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn, which cared for their son.
"We owe the two hospitals so much for their tireless efforts and great skills which have ensured that our son has developed and grown," they said.
Problems began for the couple when Lorraine, 25, went for her routine 20-week scan during her pregnancy.
Doctors at the Rosie Maternity Hospital discovered that Callum wasn't growing as he should and further weekly scans followed to monitor his progress.
Eventually at 28 weeks they decided he was in distress and he was born by emergency operation.
"I was hoping he would be able to hang on for another couple of weeks," said Lorraine, "but it wasn't to be.
"I was amazed when I saw how tiny he was. I thought: 'How can a tiny little baby like that survive?'"
Callum was immediately connected to machines to help him breathe and monitor all his vital signs.
But just hours after his birth he suffered a haemorrhage in his lungs and doctors feared he might not survive the night.
"We only found out later that the nurses didn't give him much hope in those first few hours," said Lorraine. "They thought we were going to lose him."
But Callum proved them wrong and his parents were at his bedside constantly as he battled to live.
They couldn't even cuddle their tiny son because it was just too much effort for him and sapped his precious energy.
"We were taught how to put a hand on his chest and one on his head to comfort him and make him content," said Lorraine. "When he was first born he had his fists clenched so tightly it was difficult to even hold his hand."
Callum's progress was slow but when he was just three weeks old he was strong enough to be moved to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn.
Doctors and nurses at the hospital worked tirelessly to build up the little boy's weight until he could finally go home.
Callum now weighs six pounds one ounce and life is slowly getting back to normal for the family.
On Ash Wednesday, when everyone else was preparing for Easter, they decked out their home with Christmas decorations and a tree to celebrate the Christmas they never had.
They exchanged presents, with special gifts for Callum, and sat down to turkey with all the trimmings.
"It was a little strange having pancakes on Pancake Day and then having Christmas dinner," said Lorraine. "But we postponed Christmas so that we could have it as a family when Callum came home."
This summer Lorraine and Patrick are planning a major fund-raising appeal to thank the hospitals.
On June 23 Patrick will attempt 72 holes of golf, playing on courses in Ely, Newmarket, Royston and Thetford in one day.
The couple have also written to all the football league clubs in the country asking if they will donate signed shirts or other souvenirs for an auction.
They have set up an appeal bank account at Lloyds TSB Bank in the name Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) .
"It's just amazing what these hospitals have done," said Lorraine. "Even putting a line into Callum's tiny hand was such a hard thing to do. We all moan about paying our taxes but when you see the wonderful work going on you realise how much help they give."
# THE UK has the highest rate of low birthweight babies - babies born under five pounds two ounces - in western Europe.
# 20 YEARS ago, only 20 per cent of babies weighing less than two pounds two ounces would survive. Nowadays that figure has risen to 80 per cent.
# 12 per cent of all babies born need some level of special care at birth.
# EACH premature baby costs the NHS up to £1,000 per day and often requires several months of care.
# THE scanner that detected Callum's problems cost £58,000 and the incubator, where he spent the first 10 weeks of his life, cost £25,000.
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Ely Standard. Click the link in the orange box above for details.