Sunday, July 13, 2014
These are the miracle babies born to a mother who feared she may never have children.
Gabrielle Barker, 26, was told she had cysts on her ovaries and could have difficulty getting pregnant.
She told of her immense relief when she and husband Wayne, 27, found out she was pregnant, but she endured a terrifying nine months afterwards, vomiting 10 times per day and losing a stone when she should have been gaining weight.
Her first son Liam, two, was born premature and was rushed to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (N&N).
“It was just a massive blur,” said Mrs Barker, from the Queens Hills estate in Costessey. “They took him straight into NICU and I didn’t see him for hours.”
Liam, who weighed 4lb 14oz when born at 36 weeks, was allowed home after five days, but the problems were not over.
“We were back and forth from hospital and he was ill,” said the teaching assistant. “It went on and on for months until at nine months old he was rushed into hospital by ambulance.”
Liam was referred to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, in Cambridge, where a doctor found his immune system was not working correctly. He still suffers from obstructive sleep apnoea. His condition is improving, and Mr and Mrs Barker decided to try for a second baby – believing the same thing would not happen twice.
But it did. Jacob, now four months old, was also born premature – at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) in King’s Lynn.
The 5lb 5oz tot, born at 36 weeks, was jaundiced and his temperature needed to be regulated, his digestive system had not developed and he needed to be tube fed. But both Jacob and his big brother Liam are now at home improving.
Mrs Barker and her husband, a PCSO, believe their sons owe their lives to NICU doctors and nurses, and are fundraising for the units at the N&N and QEH and for the Sick Children’s Trust – which provided overnight accommodation at Addenbrooke’s so the family could stay together.
A fundraising night will be held at Weston Park Golf Club on Saturday, October 18 from 6pm to midnight. To reserve a ticket, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Her former next-door neighbour and ex-Norwich City midfielder Robert Snodgrass has donated a pair of signed football boots to be auctioned off. To bid for them in a silent auction, email email@example.com before bidding closes at midnight on July 31.
A separate auction will be held afterwards, and Mrs Barker is appealing for items to be donated – email her if you can help.
Her brother Matthew Pinnock, 24, and friend Chris Grand, 27, both of Norwich, are doing a charity bungee jump on October 12.
Are you raising money for charity in thanks for help you’ve received? Email firstname.lastname@example.org