Norwich couple’s thanks to hospital for saving daughter born 15 weeks early
When Scarlett Slack was born, she was so tiny that she could not be held by her mum and dad for three weeks.
Her parents feared the worst when the little girl was born 15 weeks early weighing 1lb 10oz and was less than 30cms long.
Her family said they were forever indebted to the staff at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital for saving Scarlett, who spent the first two and a half months of her life in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
Kate and Silas Slack marked their daughter's first birthday at the weekend by staging a charity cycle ride that has so far raised more than £8,000 for the hospital's charity to help other premature babies and their families.
The couple, who live off Dereham Road, in Norwich, were expecting the arrival of their second child in August. However, Scarlett was born at the Colney hospital on April 26 last year - 25 weeks and three days into the pregnancy.
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Mrs Slack, 31, who is studying a PhD in politics at the University of East Anglia, was having a normal pregnancy until she started having contractions on April 25.
Mr Slack, also 31, who is a software engineer, said: 'The birth was not fantastic. They did not really think she would survive the birth and when she came out it was quite a surprise. The labour was 16 hours long and they were trying to do everything they could to keep her inside for as long as possible.'
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'The shocking thing was how skinny she was and it was three weeks before we could hold her before she was stable for skin to skin contact.'
After her sudden arrival into the world, Scarlett needed mechanical ventilation for her first 35 days and spent the first 73 days of her life at NICU - half of which was spent in high dependency intensive care.
Mrs Slack said: 'It was completely shocking and it was very traumatic, but we were very lucky because we could come home. We had Oscar here and we had to keep the show on the road. It was so much better because of how nice the consultants and nurses were.
'We do not know why she was born that early and there was no reason why. We were told that a very small amount of pregnancies end up being very premature.'
Scarlett weighed 4lb when she able to go home, but needed constant support from the neonatal outreach team to control her temperature and she was being tube fed 50pc of the time. The average weight for a newborn baby girl is 7lb 4oz.
Her parents said their daughter had made good progress since her dramatic birth. She is now a healthy, happy baby weighing 17lb. She has started to crawl and she loves playing with her brother Oscar, 7, and the family's cats.
The family celebrated Scarlett's birthday on Saturday and on Sunday, Mr Slack and 20 friends took part in a 100km cycle from Norwich to Sea Palling and back to raise funds for NICU. They had hoped to generate £2,000 to begin with, but have already surpassed the £8,000 mark.
Mrs Slack said they hoped to get up to the £10,000 mark, which would raise enough for a new incubator at the hospital.
'We are very lucky and we feel that she will be able to be a normal, noisy, fun kid. They are extremely pleased with her and she sees a consultant once every three months - they are pleased with her progress.'
'Every aspect of the treatment in hospital was absolutely perfect and part of the sponsored bike ride was to raise awareness of the really good work the NHS does for families and they look after people with so much kindness and care.
'We wanted to give something back. We owe them everything and hopefully they can get a bit of kit to help other babies and families,' she said.
To sponsor them, visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/100kmScarlettsCyclers
Are you raising money for your local hospital? Email email@example.com