Ellie and Alex were enjoying a mini-break in Scotland – their last holiday before they had their first baby – when Ellie went in to labour seven weeks early. The couple rushed to the local hospital and their son Jamie was born.
He was immediately placed in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Paisley Hospital and was put into an incubator under ventilation because he couldn’t breathe on his own. Ellie and Alex were delighted at the safe arrival of Jamie but were worried about what the future would hold for him. They were over 400 miles from home and didn’t know how long their little boy would need to stay in Scotland for. Ellie says: “We anxiously watched his progress, desperately hoping he would improve and get stronger.”
The couple only planned on staying in Scotland for a few days but now faced up to a two months stay in the NICU at Paisley. Even if Jamie progressed enough to be able to go home, they had no idea how they were going to transfer him home. Would he have to endure an eight hour road journey? They felt stranded and hopeless.
Ellie says: “We were eight hours away from our family and friends, and struggling emotionally without them. We thought we might be stranded in Scotland for a long time. We were anxious about being off work and worried about how long we could afford to stay in hotels in Glasgow.”
Despite their concerns, Jamie made good progress and after two weeks in the NICU, he was strong enough to be transferred to a hospital closer to the family home.
Ellie and Alex were relieved to hear the news, “This was amazing news but we were warned it could take a while because the hospitals had to agree who would arrange the air ambulance, as it was too far to go by road.”
Within just a few days, Lucy Air Ambulance for Children (Lucy AAC) was contacted and confirmed they would be able to transfer Jamie to the Royal Berkshire Hospital a few days before Christmas. Ellie says: “We were over the moon when we heard that Lucy AAC were organising and funding his transfer. Without Lucy AAC we don’t know how long it would have taken to be transferred and how long we would have been stranded so far from our families.”
Lucy AAC transferred Jamie and Ellie, from Paisley Hospital in Glasgow to Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading by plane. Alex drove home and met them at the hospital – the new family of three were finally home.
“The charity arranged everything; organising the plane, the medical team who would take care of us during the flight and ensuring there was a rigorous handover between the hospitals. We were introduced to each member of the flight crew personally who went above and beyond to make us feel comfortable and reassured – we knew our baby was in safe hands.”
After two weeks alone in Scotland, Ellie and Alex had an emotional reunion with friends and family – they were finally able to share the excitement of Jamie’s arrival! Arriving home, Ellie said, “Our baby still needed a lot of support in hospital but being back home with our family around us made everything so much easier.” Alex was able to go back to work and Ellie was able to visit Jamie at the hospital, concentrating on his health and not having to worry about the cost of hotels and living away from home.
Jamie made incredibly quick progress and was discharged a week after the transfer. Ellie says:
We had never heard of this incredible charity and couldn’t believe the lengths they went to, to care for us and our baby. This is an amazing charity doing important work and we will be forever grateful to Lucy Air Ambulance for bringing our baby boy safely back home. There aren’t many babies who are flown VIP on a chartered plane before they are even one month old, and our boy will be hearing this story for a long time to come!