Mum-to-be Lori and her partner Ian were visiting family in Surrey when Lori went in to labour four months early. They hadn’t long arrived at Ian’s parents’ home after driving down from Stockport. Shocked and anxious, Lori and Ian rushed to St Peter’s Hospital in Chertsey. Lori had had a difficult pregnancy up to this point and, being her first child, she was uncertain about how her baby would progress being born so early.
Otis arrived four months early at just 24 weeks gestation on 4th June, weighing just 695g (less than a bag of sugar). He was immediately placed in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) as being so premature he needed specialised medical care. Otis would need help breathing, feeding and would require constant monitoring.
Lori and Ian were in shock. Their baby had arrived extremely early over 200 miles away from their home. The couple had only planned to spend one night in Surrey before heading back to Stockport but now they were faced with a stay of at least four months at St Peter’s hospital. They were anxious about Otis’ future and were suddenly having to cope with a lot of uncertainty. How would Otis manage? What does his future hold? How do we care for him whilst he is in hospital? There were also practical questions such as, when would Ian have to go back to work? When could they go home? Everything felt out of their control.
Ian had recently started a new job and was worried about how long he would be able to stay with Lori and Otis. Lori and Ian stayed with Ian’s parents but spent most of their days together in the hospital, before Ian had to go back to work in Stockport.
With Ian heading home, the family desperately hoped Otis could be transferred to a hospital closer to home but due to his fragile state he was unable to travel the 200 mile journey home by road ambulance. His medical team at St Peter’s Hospital contacted Lucy Air Ambulance for Children (Lucy AAC) about the possibility of transferring him by plane – the safest option for Otis.
Lucy AAC confirmed that they would be able to transfer Otis to the NICU at Stepping Hill Hospital – less than five miles away from their family home. Lori and Ian were over the moon. Ian could go back to work with Lori and Otis close by, Lori could return home and visit Otis in hospital and they could finally introduce their newborn baby to their family and friends.
The day before the transfer Lori met with the Lucy AAC team who answered questions about the flight and introduced the charity.
Lucy AAC transferred Otis and Lori, from St Peter’s Hospital in Chertsey to Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport by plane. The family of three were reunited and this made such a difference to everyday life.
Since being transferred Otis has shown how strong he is and has made his mum and dad so proud. At 9 weeks old he has had his first bath and worn clothes for the first time. At 72 days old he came out of the incubator and into a cot. He continues to grow stronger every day.
We are very grateful to the team at Lucy Air Ambulance for Children and we will always be thankful for the huge part they have played in Otis’ incredible journey. Without Lucy AAC our family would have been separated for a much longer period of time. Otis, Ian and I have had a really difficult and uncertain battle and it was important that we were together to get through it, but to also share and celebrate the first weeks of our baby’s life. Otis is going from strength to strength – he truly is a miracle and already an experienced flyer before his due date.