A MUM has told of how she was so scared to pick up her premature baby, who was born with a bone condition, that the thought of changing his nappy terrified her.
Zara’s son, Shaylen, was delivered 13 weeks early by emergency cesarean because he stopped developing in the womb and was taken to the neonatal intensive care unit where doctors diagnosed he was suffering from Metabolic Bone Disease.
Zara and LLoyd with their baby Shaylen who was born with a bone condition[/caption]
“He weighed the same amount as a box of cornflakes,” Zara says, describing the birth and adding that the reality of having a her tiny son in hospital is “terrifying”.
She shares her story on Saving Babies, which goes behind the scenes at Liverpool Women’s Hospital neonatal unit.
“It’s one thing after another. It’s constant worry, all the time,” she says.
“There are numbers going up and down, alarms going off constantly and wires all over your baby.”
Shaylen was treated at the intensive care unit at Liverpool Women’s Hospital[/caption]
Around 60,000 babies are born prematurely every year and Shaylen is just one of the thousands of babies Liverpool Women’s Hospital sees each year.
During the show nurses notice how Shaylen’s head has changed shape slightly, and Clinical director Dr Bill Yoxall tells Zara: “You need to handle him very carefully while you’re waiting for his skeleton to catch up”.
Looking emotional and heartbroken Zara says: “It hurts when you think you’re causing that pain to your baby.
“It’s constantly in the back of your mind, when I’m changing him. ‘Am I causing him more harm?’”
Baby Shaylen also has swollen wrists which turn out to be a result of Metabolic Bone Disease, which occurs in around 23% of babies who are born weighing under 1.5kg.
It’s constantly in the back of your mind, when I’m changing him. Am I causing him more harm?
Speaking to Zara about her son’s condition Dr Yoxall continues saying babies “can have problems with fractures just in normal handling, so it is a serious problem.”
In touching scenes, medical staff also teach Lloyd, 21 – Shaylan’s dad – who travels 100 miles each week to see him – how to lift and change his son, to lessen the risk of more fractures.
“I feel nervous, like I’m going to break him a lot of the time,” Lloyd says.
Dr Bill Yoxall said babies with Metabolic Bone Disease must be handled with extra care[/caption]
Despite the difficulties Lloyd, from Scunthorpe, comes to visit the hospital every weekend.
He lives separately from Zara but admits he’s hoping to make the relationship work for the sake of their son.
What is Metabolic Bone Disease?
- Metabolic Bone Disease is a condition that can cause bone abnormalities in infants.
- It is quite common in preterm babies, particularly those with lower birth weights, but is usually mild.
- Severe versions can lead to fractures, and other complications such as breathing difficulties and eye problems.
- It is caused by a deficiency of minerals in a baby’s bones.
- Treatments include phosphate supplements among other vitmins and minerals
- It can last days, weeks or months in infants.
- It is different to Brittle Bone Disease, which is much more serious.
“I’m going to be there for my son. He’s the main priority,” says Lloyd.
Thankfully after close monitoring and treatment consultant Nim Subhedar, tells the couple how Metabolic Bone Disease “happens for days, weeks and sometimes months but with treatment things correct themselves.”
Doctors and nurses at the hospital see around 1200 critically ill babies each year[/caption]
“I prefer to be prepared for the worst because anything less is a bonus,” Zara says, admitting to sending hours on Googling looking up her son’s condition.
After 16 weeks in the neonatal unit, Shaylen had responded well and is sent home with Zara and Lloyd – who say they plan to move in and start a life together.
Their son is expected to make a full recovery.
In emotional scenes, the tiny tot is bundled into a warm outfit and prepared to leave the hospital.
“It’s the best part of the job,” a nurse says as she waves them goodbye.
Saving Babies airs at 8pm on Sunday on Really.
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