This is the baby story for Forrest, our committee member Heidi’s son.
When Forrest was born, he wasn’t breathing, was completely unresponsive, lifeless and blue in colour. He was immediately ambulanced to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton where, after an incredible 30 minutes of trying, staff successfully managed to resuscitate him. He was given a 50/50 chance of survival and only a 1/8 chance of not suffering from any brain damage. Forrest’s consultant spoke to us about a new treatment, the ‘cooling technique’ where a baby’s body temperature is reduced to a hypothermic state over a 3 day period, giving the brain time to slow down and repair cells more easily before being ‘warmed up’ again. It was a really difficult time and we felt completely helpless, staying by his incubator, unable to even touch him but incredibly Forrest made a full recovery. Even the consultants were amazed at how positively he responded. Forrest is now a very happy, healthy, funny, loving, thoughtful boy. We cannot thank the Trevor Mann Baby Unit enough for saving his life. They are a phenomenal team and without their expert care and attention, he wouldn’t be here. We are so incredibly grateful and owe them everything.
This is the baby story for Tilly, our committee member Jemma’s daughter.
Tilly was born at 24 + 5 weeks on 28th January 2014. She weighed 360 grams (13oz) when she was born and was the smallest baby that the TMBU had ever looked after.
Tilly spent 143 days in the TMBU and SCBU before coming home. She was at home for 6.5 months, on home oxygen, and did amazingly well – she was cheeky & made us laugh every day.
Unfortunately, Tilly picked up a virus in January 2015 and was admitted back into hospital. She spent the next 10 months in a few different intensive care and high dependency units, but sadly passed away on 1st November 2015 at the age of 21 months following further complications.
We will always remember Tilly as a happy girl with the most infectious smile – even when she was going through the most difficult times, she managed to brighten up our lives with her raspberry blowing & she most definitely lived up to the meaning of her name ‘mighty in battle”.
We would not have had the precious time with Tilly had it not been for the staff at the TMBU and SCBU and we will be forever grateful for that.
This is the baby story for Samuel our committee member Julie’s son.
Story written by his Mum, Julie. Samuel was born at 36 weeks in Worthing Hospital in February 2014 weighing 6lb 3oz. He struggled with various health problems after he arrived and was admitted to Worthing SCBU when he was 5 days old. He was unable to maintain his oxygen levels that night and by the morning he had become acutely unwell – having seizures and sustained episodes of not breathing. He was resuscitated in front of us whilst we looked on helplessly, and then stabilized on a ventilator although his seizures continued and required further treatment. The Neonatal Retrieval team arrived to transfer him to TMBU. The staff were excellent in caring for Samuel (and us) in the turmoil and uncertainty of not knowing what was wrong with him for almost a week. He endured many procedures including a lumbar puncture, cerebral function monitoring, EEG’s and a MRI Brain Scan. They then found out he had a rare form of meningitis and encephalitis caused by the Parecho virus and he was moved to the Royal Alex Children’s Hospital to continue his recovery. Samuel is now a happy and healthy young boy, despite battles with respiratory difficulties and developmental and speech and language delays that are probably the result of his neonatal experiences. He brings us so much joy and we will never forget all that TMBU have done for our family.
Samuel’s story written by his Dad, Jim. In November 2010 I felt like I was catapulted into another world when our daughter was born at 33 weeks and taken into SCBU. I felt helpless and lost while trying to be strong for my wife. The second time in February 2014 was worse with our son as he was admitted to TMBU with Parechovirus Meningitis & Encephalitis. That was a whole different level than before and looking back I don’t know how I managed to hold it together but somehow I did. I faced some of my darkest days in that time but am so grateful for all the staff that were there for us, without them I don’t think I could have coped. For those dads who are going through similar times, you are not alone. Stay strong. There are groups like the EBA and others who can help put you in touch with Dad’s like myself who have emerged through the other side.
This is the baby story for Luke, our committee member Michelle’s son.
Luke was born at 38 weeks weighing 2.14kgs (4lb11oz) by emergency caesarean section, after a normal, uneventful pregnancy. At a few hours old, we were told the devastating news that Luke was very poorly and potentially had a heart issue which would require surgery. He was transferred from The Trevor Mann Baby Unit at The Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton to The Evelina Children’s Hospital in London for tests and to see a Specialist. These tests later established that Luke, didn’t have a heart issue requiring surgery but had Intrauterine Growth Restriction which resulted in the complications noted at birth.
Once stabilised, Luke was transferred back to the Trevor Mann Baby Unit for continued care and monitoring. Once he had sufficiently improved, he was transferred to the Special Care Baby Unit at The Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath. After being on a very emotional roller-coaster lasting 15 days, Luke was finally allowed home once his sats had come up to acceptable levels and also having regained and exceeded his birth weight. We returned to the unit every other day for a couple of weeks for weight and blood checks, after which, he was then discharged to be seen as outpatient in clinic. We have had a few health issues since but now Luke is now a happy 9 year old boy.
This is the baby story for Lewy, our committee member Wayne’s son.
Lewy was born in Eastbourne at 30 weeks in April 2007 weighing 3lb, suffering from a blood infection, gut infection, low blood pressure and bleeding on the brain. It took the neonatal consultants from Brighton 6 hours to get him stable enough to take him to the TMBU. He received a blood transfusion on the journey to Brighton. He made a slow but steady recovery until he got an infection on day 10 and stopped breathing, being resuscitated while we watched – helpless! He stayed in the TMBU for 3 weeks receiving the highest quality of care and a further 3 weeks in Eastbourne SCBU. He has been unaffected by his early start, making plans to play professional golf after becoming the youngest player to get a hole in one at the Royal Eastbourne at the age of 6.
This is the baby story for Hettie, our committee member Charlotte’s daughter.
On the night of the 30th August 2018, following a normal day and an uneventful pregnancy, I went into labour more than 9 weeks early. After a long night of back pain and no sleep, I called the hospital who invited me in for a checkup and then surprised us by declaring I was 3cm dilated.
I was given injections to delay my labour, so that I could have a series of steroids to help the baby’s lung development. As we had some time to prepare, the midwives arranged for us visit the Trevor Mann unit for a tour in advance of the baby’s arrival. The team on the unit were very kind and talked us through what to expect, showing us the three nurseries, the different incubators & equipment and explaining some of the possible different scenarios of having a premature baby. It was a very overwhelming experience, which left us emotional but reassured and gave us some insight into the reality of what was to come. Before the tour I had thought we would have a short stay in hospital after the delivery, but it was clear now that everything I’d imagined about having a baby was going to change. Six days later, after lots of starting and stopping of contractions, our beautiful daughter Henrietta arrived naturally, weighing 3lb 8. Hettie was immediately whisked up to nursery one, where she was checked, wired up and given a spot by the window. Nothing can prepare you for meeting your baby for the first time in an incubator, but I felt calm and safe knowing what we had learnt on our visit before she was born. Hettie was fortunate to be early but healthy, so it was now a matter of being patient, as she wouldn’t be able to leave TMBU until we had established feeding and she wouldn’t be able to begin feeding until she was at least 34 weeks old.
Three weeks and a day after she was born we were signed off to go home. Those three weeks were the most emotional and challenging of my life, having to leave the most precious thing in the world to you, in the care of other people is not easy, but we couldn’t have been looked after by a better team. We can’t thank the team at the Trevor Mann enough for all they did for us.
This is the baby story for Matilda, our committee member Jenni’s daughter.
Matilda was born at 32+4 weeks in September 2015 at PRH, Haywards Heath. She had trouble breathing so was put on a ventilator and placed in an incubator on SCBU. We were quickly transferred to TMBU in Brighton. We stayed there for 8 days before going back to Haywards Heath. She continued to need breathing support and got sent home on oxygen after 8 weeks in hospital. She then spent another 4 months on home oxygen which involved lots of tubes around the house and walking with a ghost buster style oxygen pack on my back!
She progressed very quickly and was off the oxygen at 6 months old. She grew at a ridiculous rate, catching up with her friends born at full term!
She met all her milestones and was discharged by the consultant at 2 years old, with no breathing difficulties or lasting condition.
She is now 4 1/2years old, very tall for her age and enjoying pre school! She loves seeing her friends, drawing and being outside scooting, riding her bike or exploring in the woods! She is due to start school in September 2020.
We are still friends with some other families we met on SCBU and are very grateful for all the staff at the units for all they did for us.
This is the baby story for Ellis, our committee member Nicola’s son.
Ellis was born in April 2019 at 25 + 2 weeks gestation. Up until that point my pregnancy was going smoothly so when I started having contractions, I put it down to being some strange cramps and carried on my way to work.
Suffice to say, a couple of days later and after being blue lighted from PRH to Brighton hospital, Ellis arrived naturally and still within the sac.
To this day no one knows why I went into early labour but they suspect it may have been due to an infection in my waters.
Despite Ellis’ prematurity, he was never ventilated, which is unheard of for such a premmie. The doctors dubbed him Viking Ellis as from the get-go, he was so strong and smashed his way through each day.
We soon found out however that out of nowhere things can change in the blink of an eye and that’s when the rollercoaster started. Ellis battled infection after infection and received numerous blood transfusions. It felt like every day was one step forward, two steps back.
Once he hit around 33 weeks there was talk of him being transferred to the Special Care Baby Unit at PRH. I couldn’t believe it when they said he was well enough to go and that once we had his feeding established we were looking to be on the road home.
Unfortunately, after being at PRH for less than 48 hours Ellis was rushed back to the TMBU where it was found he had bacterial meningitis. It felt like our whole world had crumbled all over again and I just expected the worst.
Well, Viking Ellis struck again and after weeks of antibiotics, he was as right as rain. He passed all the tests, showing that remarkably he had come out the other side unscathed and after 96 days we came home!
During his time in hospital, Ellis showed astounding amounts of strength, determination and resilience. Now he is a happy, kind, funny and whirlwind of a toddler, with nothing to indicate his prematurity at all. He truly is remarkable and both Darcy and I are so honoured and proud to be his parents.
This is the baby story for Sienna, our committee member Marie’s daughter.
My daughter Sienna was born in may 2019 at 24 weeks plus 2 days weighing just 1lb 7ozs. Up until then my pregnancy was fine and I had no complications, however I became unwell and had bad back pain. I went to the hospital to be checked and was told my waters had broke. By this point I was then being rushed to Hastings Conquest as I developed an infection They started me on magnesium and gave me steroids when they scanned me they thought my tear in the waters could be sealed and I could carry on with my pregnancy but my infection markers became higher and soon I was then being rushed to Brighton. We were then told the safest thing for me and sienna was for her to be delivered. myself and Nick were told she would have 50/50 chance of surviving, we were terrified our world turned upside down.
Sienna was then born by emergency c section, I remember hearing her cry which I never expected to hear, it gave us hope. Sienna was then taken up to TMBU and was ventilated. The first few weeks were very worrying and involved Sienna having a trip to Southampton to have heart surgery to close the duct above her heart. The surgery went well and We were then transferred back to Tmbu where we spent the next 3 and half months. Sienna then started to make slow but great progress and just needed to grow.
The care and support from the nurses and doctors on the unit were incredible, they saved our little girl and we cannot thank them enough we are truly forever grateful. Not only did they support us as a family but went above and beyond to support Sienna’s big sister Jolie who coped so well with the situation. We were so lucky to be able to stay at the Ronald McDonald house I honestly don’t know what we would have done without it. Just like most premature babies Sienna was diagnosed with chronic lung disease and needed to come home on oxygen. We came home around what would be Sienna’s due date at the end of August, she stayed on home oxygen for around 3 months, And was slowly weened off it. Since then Sienna has and still is developing amazingly we are so proud and feel so lucky to have her here she is now a cheeky thriving 2 year old.
This is the baby story for Nova our previous committee member Lauren’s daughter.
Story written by her Mum, Lauren. In May 2017 my daughter Nova was born at 25+2 weeks gestation. I always knew I had a high risk of premature labour or miscarriage due to having my cervix removed because of cervical cancer in 2015.
However never in my wildest thoughts did I think I would have my daughter 15 weeks early. I had a fairly straight forward pregnancy (apart from being very closely monitored with 2 weekly appointments with my obstetrician) so when my waters ruptured at 24 weeks I was terrified.
I managed to not get an infection during my 5 day admission onto the pre natal ward and had my routine steroid injections to help progress Nova’s lungs in case she was born early, luckily I didn’t go into labour, so when they discharged me I was rather relieved.
I was booked in for an appointment every week to check Nova’s heart rate and my infection markers and had a course of antibiotics to take at home.
3 days later I went to the toilet to see that I was bleeding, off we went back to the hospital. Deep down I knew I wasn’t going to leave the hospital pregnant this time and my suspicions were correct. After a very trippy night on the labour ward (due to a magnesium sulphate drip) I woke up feeling really ill. I had about 3 doctors come into my room and tell me my daughter was going to be delivered that day and to call my husband.
4 hours later I was taken into the operating theatre and given a lot of information about babies born so early, I felt completely numb and terrified by what was about to happen.
Nova was born by Caesarian I’d never seen such a tiny, helpless perfect person.
Thanks to the TMBU Nova came home 1 week before her due date, on oxygen.
I cannot thank the staff enough for looking after my baby and getting her home safely so we could be the family we’ve always dreamed of.
People who started off as Nova’s health care professions soon became lifelong friends.
Nova’s Story written by her Dad, David. A friend of mine said what you’re going through will soon be a distant memory. At the time I couldn’t focus on anything other than the moment I was in.
Now, almost 2 years on, it does seem a little distant. But the memories will never leave. And to be honest, I don’t want them to. From the first moment I saw Nova my whole world changed. Laying there in all I could describe as an oven roasting bag with tubes and wires everywhere was our beautiful 25weeker daughter.
The happy ‘Dad Life’ didn’t start as normal as you see everywhere. But what is normal? My Dad Life has been amazing, the things I saw in the TMBU over the 95 days have been real eye openers. My mental state was tested immensely and it was difficult to know what to say, how to act, what to feel.
It’s drummed into us by society that as a Dad you need to be the leader, to stand strong and keep the family unit together. In times like this it’s even harder. You just want to break down and ask other Dads how they are. But you feel nervous and scared, you don’t want to look weak to the other ‘Alphas’. Then you think. No, this isn’t a wildlife documentary, this is life, we are all emotional and we need to pull together to get through tough times. It took me a while to start talking to the other Dads on the unit but when I did a huge weight was lifted. I urge any Dad who is going through this to just say hello to the others! You’re being strong for your partners and you’re probably hiding your emotions to look strong in front of them. But don’t, just let it out and talk. Cry with the other Dads there, the word beer helps. It’s a good icebreaker. Fancy a beer?
Being a Dad is an incredible feeling. Being a Dad of a preemie is special. They say tough times are given to those that are built to handle them. It sounds weird, but I think it’s a gift.
This is the baby story for Wren our previous committee member Fiona’s daughter.
On the 27th March 2018 Wren was born at 28 weeks (12 weeks early) via emergency C-section due to maternal Pre-eclampsia and HELLP Syndrome and Wren having Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR). She weighed 1lbs 13oz at birth but initially coped relatively well and had few issues that resolved quickly. Wren was born In Surrey and due to us moving house she was transferred to a more local hospital but within days rapidly deteriorated and was investigated for various conditions.
On the 24th April at just four weeks old Wren became critically unwell and had suspected Necrotising Enterocolitis (NEC), a potentially life threatening Bowel condition common in premature babies. In the middle of the night she was transferred in an emergency to TMBU, for a higher level of care and potential surgery. She was medically managed for four days by the incredible team on TMBU who thought she had started to improve but then unexpectedly rapidly deteriorated again and we were told the only option to help save her was to go in surgically and remove any dead bowel and hopefully stop the disease form progressing. Still very tiny and very unwell she was taken down to theatre (in the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital) within hours and many scenarios were given to us. After an agonising few hours Wren was brought back to TMBU where her Consultant, in great relief told us that she did not have NEC, but had Congenital Intestinal Banding. Wren had been born with a rare band of tissue wrapping wound her bowels creating an obstruction and causing part of her bowel to die. The surgeons removed 20% of her bowel and formed a stoma (an external open opening of the bowel through the abdomen). Though this was a very serious condition and she was still vulnerable, it meant a better recovery. This was also completely unrelated to her prematurity.
After her initial surgery she had several complications including sepsis, apnoea’s, jaundice and reflux, but were managed by the incredible staff on the unit who not only saved Wren’s life but helped us through this very difficult time. Wren had her stoma reversed after 8 weeks and was then discharged home after 14 weeks in hospital and 10 weeks in TMBU. The staff and the unit will forever be very special to us, Wren is now generally a happy, healthy toddler and we will never be able to thank TMBU enough for our little girl.
Maisy & Molly
These are the baby stories for Maisy and Molly, our previous committee member Lee’s daughters.
Our beautiful twin girls Maisy & Molly were born on 29th Sept 2014 at The Princess Royal SCBU at 25 weeks. Both weighed 1 ½ pounds and required immediate medical attention. They were transferred to the Trevor Mann Baby Unit in Brighton. Both were very sick with a number of complications. Sadly, Molly’s complications were too much for her and Molly received her Angel Wings on the 3rd October 2014 at 4 days old. She lives on however in the heart of her twin sister Maisy who has gone from strength to strength with the help of the amazing hospital teams. Her stay on TMBU lasted 127 days, during which time she fought a brain bleed, lung hemorrhage, heart surgery and severe reflux. Just over 4 years down the line however and a few more hospital stays later she is enjoying life with little in the way of signs of her early battle. She certainly has the strength, courage and determination of both her and her twin sister.
Without the love, care, experience and support of the TMBU and SCBU teams my family and I would never have managed to come through our darkest days in the way that we have.
Hannah Fraser James Senior Sister Special Care Nursery
” I qualified as a paediatric nurse back in 2008, from the university of Brighton. I didn’t know where I wanted to work when I qualified but TMBU offered me a job and I’ve never looked back. I fell in love with the place, the babies, the families and just how amazing it is to work in such a special place.
I’ve worked on the unit for over 12 years now and i feel privileged and very lucky to be part of such a great team of nurses and doctors. We care for families at their lowest points right through to the highs of going home.
In my not so new role now, as Senior Sister for our special care nursery, I get to help families prepare for their journey to home which is such a huge part of their NICU journey. I have met some of the most inspiring families who continue to amaze me with the strength and courage they show day in, day out.
We are so lucky to be supported by the wonderful EBA, they have funded many projects for us on the unit and the work they do helps us to give an extra special experience to our babies and their families!”
Thank you so much for sharing your story with us Hannah and for your support of The EBA. We are so happy to hear we can help the nursing staff give an extra special experience to those on the units.
Jenny Tsang Neonatal Senior Sister
Jenny says “I graduated as a paediatric nurse at City University London in 2012. I worked in Homerton University Hospital NICU in East London for just over 2 years where I did my neonatal qualified in speciality training before getting my job on Trevor Mann Baby Unit in Brighton (TMBU) in 2015 to be closer to home and my family.
I have been working on TMBU for over 6 years now and I am super passionate about my job caring for sick/premature babies and their families. It is a highly rewarding job and I feel privileged to be a part of their NICU journey.
I have been a part of the Sussex Neonatal Transport team for over 2 years now and I have been working in my role as the Neonatal Child Death Review Keyworker for almost a year.
Supporting bereaved families and supporting staff who deliver the care to these families is very important because as a healthcare professional we can have such a positive influence on how families experience care when their baby dies. I am aware no matter what care we deliver we will never be able to take away the pain families may feel but we work very hard as a team to make sure we can give them the best possible care during this difficult time.
So many charities also help to support us and the families including EBA who fund many of our bereavement items for the unit. We also work closely with @sandscharity @achingarmsuk @heartingheirhand @4louis.charity @owfoscarswishfoundation and we are so grateful for all the help and support they give for us and the bereaved families.”
Sammi Burns Neonatal Nurse
Being a neonatal nurse is the most rewarding job in the world.
We get given the opportunity to be able to provide compassion to families at the most vulnerable time in their lives.
We don’t only support the baby, we support families too.
Building a relationship with them and gaining their trust within the team, means more to us than anything.
It’s being able to see their journeys from the start right the way through to the end and realising how much the families grow, that makes you love your job and be grateful for becoming a neonatal nurse
Naylia Mogal Neonatal Nurse
“After finishing college I started my career as a nursery nurse within a local day nursery working with babies and young children. A parent at the nursery made a simple comment, changing my life forever, the comment being ‘I wish you were my health visitor’. Before I knew it I began to explore the role and discovered that I needed to be a nurse first.
I began my neonatal nurse journey as a nursery nurse at the special care in Princess Royal here I learnt the key foundations of special care and this is where my love and passion began for neonates.
From the second I started on the ward I just knew that I was destining to be a Neonatal Nurse, I qualified back in 2015 and secured my first nursing job at Trevor Mann. The sheer strength, determination and fight that the babies and families in our care show on a daily basis makes me privileged to be their nurse and part of their very special journey. Watching those babies grow bigger and stronger whilst teaching and supporting the families to care for their baby is something that is quite important to me and very central to my neonatal nursing role.
Trevor Mann has been recognised as outstanding by the CQC and being part of this team is an achievement I will always be proud of. #I❤️nursing”
Katie Sweeney Senior Special Care Nurse
I’m Katie and I work in special care at TMBU as one of the senior nurses. Having the support of the EBA has meant so so much to me!
The EBA have funded my ‘baby wearing on the neonatal unit’ project and we will soon be ready to start offering baby wearing to support the amazing families we work with. Baby wearing has become a really important bonding experience for parents in recent years and many other baby units have seen the massive shift in parental wellness due to the positive experience baby wearing brings to their parenting journey. Supporting this from the very start is our aim and my vision is to be able to offer babywearing to all families across all three nurseries! This will enable better and longer skin to skin and increase breastfeeding uptake!
Huge huge thank you to the EBA for making this possible! This project will benefit so many families and I’m so excited to see what the future holds! My photo shows me with some of the ‘weighted demo babies’ I will use to show parents and to train staff.
Sue Robinson Advanced Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
“I came into neonatal nursing by chance; I am an adult-trained nurse and had been working as a Health Visitor for several years. Unfortunately, my childcare arrangements fell apart, so I started working one night a week at Crawley Hospital SCBU. That was in 1999, and I have never looked back!
Neonatal nursing encompasses everything that I love: working in partnership with families and making a difference at an important time in their lives. I also much prefer shift work to 9-5, and the fantastic views from SCBU and TMBU!
It is a huge honour and privilege to be able to care for babies at such a crucial time, and to support their families. I feel very fortunate to work with a wonderful team, and to have met so many amazing parents. Their neonatal journey can be a huge emotional rollercoaster.
Throughout the years, I have been involved with several exciting initiatives, including the Bliss audit, EBA committee, Parent Forum and Family Integrated Care team. Parent involvement has been crucial, as they view things from a different perspective to the medical/nursing team. The EBA have made a massive positive difference to parents’ experience, and I am so grateful for their input.
Every day is a school day working in neonates, there is so much to learn, and much of it can be learnt from our wonderful parents.
Thank you EBA!”
Lucy Green Neonatal Nurse
“Ever since I was tiny I have loved babies and this is definitely what inspired me to become a neonatal nurse.
I worked as a nursery nurse on special care for 4 years and then went on to study Paediatric nursing at Brighton university. I had 2 placements on TMBU during my training which I loved. I immediately knew this was where I wanted to work and started work as a neonatal nurse in 2009 on TMBU.
I can honestly say I love my job, it is challenging at times but extremely rewarding. We work so closely as part of a team to ensure we achieve the best outcomes for the babies we are privileged to care for. I love being a part of a patient’s journey right from the very start of their life whilst supporting parents through difficult and exciting times, encouraging and watching them build a bond with their new and fragile babies. This is why I love being a neonatal nurse and why my job is so important to me.”
Frances Neonatal Nurse
I have been a general nurse since I graduated in the Philippines. I have travelled to different places in the world too and have been nursing practically all my life since graduating back home.
Since I arrived in the UK, I have worked in as a neonatal nurse. It was a bit scary at first, but I really enjoy doing this job. It is a challenging career, but so rewarding. Being in the nursing profession, this question always pops up, “how can you do your job looking after such tiny babies?” Being a neonatal nurse is full of surprises, and the babies can sometimes change how they are very quickly.
Being a neonatal nurse is such a rewarding career, where you’re not only taking care of the baby, but the whole family, your colleagues and all the agencies involved in the babies care. The most rewarding times are when a baby in your care gets better and you are part of their journey from the moment they come to the unit until when they are discharged. I have never regretted being involved in the care of neonates. Hopefully more nurses will be encouraged and get involved in the profession because it is the most rewarding profession anyone could do.”
Eleanor Turk Committee Member and Neonatal Nurse
Eleanor is a Neonatal Nurse and has been a valued Committee Member of The EBA since 2019.
Below Eleanor tells us why she chose to become a neonatal nurse and why she joined The EBA.
‘I graduated as a paediatric nurse from Oxford Brookes University in 2012 and moved back to my home town of Brighton to be close to my family and partner again. The same year I started working at the Trevor Mann Baby Unit and now cannot imagine myself anywhere else. I am passionate about my profession and am keen to continue to improve the services we provide to our patients and their family on the unit. This enthusiasm increased after attending a teaching session on family centred developmental care by Inga Warren early on in my career. I feel strongly about the importance of involving the family in the care of their baby in any way they can, it has so many benefits for both baby and family. Because of this, I became involved with the Bliss Baby Charter. This is an ongoing audit to improve the services provided on the unit. This is also the reason I joined the EBA committee, to help improve services for the family by raising funds for the units.
Outside of work I enjoy morris dancing as part of a local women’s side. Many people are surprised to hear that I morris dance, mainly because I am not a middle aged man with a beard and beer belly. I’ve been dancing from an early age, and started this particular form when I was 11. I find it a great form of exercise and I get to meet lots of people through it. I also love animals, and have had many pets growing up. At the moment I don’t own any pets as I am busy caring for my very active and mischievous son. When I do manage to grab 5 minutes to myself I like to go out into the garden if the weather is nice, or binge watch the latest trashy series on TV while consuming a large amount of chocolate.’
Rachel Beston Committee Member and Neonatal Nurse
Rachel is a Neonatal Nurse and has been a valued Committee Member of The EBA since 2019. Below Rachel tells us why she chose to become a neonatal nurse:
‘From a young age I had always wanted wanted to be a nurse and I was thrilled when I qualified as a children’s nurse. After a few years I decided to apply for a job on the Trevor Mann Baby unit. I loved the thought of working with premature and sick babies and their families. I really wanted to work in an area of nursing where you could make a real difference and knowing that by providing a high standard of care you could have a really positive influence on the health and future development of the babies in your care.
I completely underestimated what the role would mean to me and how much I would love it.Working on a neonatal intensive care unit is such an intense privilege. On a daily basis you see the tiniest and most fragile babies beat the odds and become stronger and healthier hour by hour, day by day.
You get to know and work in partnership with their amazing families who are going through the worst times of their lives but who find every last bit of courage they have to be the strength their babies need to fight and flourish. You get to work with a truly incredible team who genuinely care for each and every baby and strive to do their absolute best to provide the best care possible.
The absolute best thing about being a neonatal nurse is experiencing the intense satisfaction of discharging a baby who you’ve looked after since they were tiny and know they have been through hell and back and are now fat, happy and healthy and are going home to be with their families where they belong.
Being a neonatal nurse is the best job in the world and I couldn’t imagine myself working anywhere else.”
You would never know...
Here is a short video about the incredible work of The Trevor Mann Baby Unit in Brighton, East Sussex.
The Trevor Mann Baby Unit Is a specialist unit caring for premature and sick babies following their birth. The unit has twenty seven cots, nine of which are designated intensive care, eight for high dependency and the remaining ten for special care. Some babies may stay on the unit for only a day, others may be there for many months.
The local health authorities of East Sussex, Brighton & Hove and West Sussex pay for the service provided. However, high quality medical and nursing treatment is very expensive and donations are essential to help buy additional equipment.
The Early Birth Association are registered on Virgin Money Giving,
where you are able to make a donation directly to us and set up your
own fundraising page for any events that you do.
For further advice and support please also see the useful links and information at the bottom of the website.