Our little boy is just cool after 72 hour fight for life

He's a healthy, robust, strong little child, but for one year old Adam Jermy and mum, it could have been very different.

The child, born on the penultimate day of 2010, has just celebrated his first birthday, a poignant moment for parents Marie and Richard Jermy, who they didn't have much time to celebrate the birth. The child - born not breathing - was carried off by doctors and tied up with string in a 'cooling mat', to prevent brain damage from being starved of oxygen.

Born at a hefty 9lb 11oz on December 30, 2010, the child spent a total of 72 hours lying on the cooling mattress after being whisked away by doctors, and his mother didn't see him until more than 24 hours later.

His mother Marie was minutes away from inadvertently taking her own life during labour, when doctors got test results in at the last minute confirming both her and child would die were she to attempt a natural birth.

Mrs Jermy, a 39 year old writer and full time mum who spent 18 years working for the police force at Bethel Street, said: 'If they hadn't done the tests on Adam when I was in labour, we would have both died.

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'The results came back as I was about to push, saying I would bleed to death if I tried it. It was that close.

'I was minutes away from dying.'

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Mrs Jermy, off Theobold Road, Lakenham, also spent days lying down, as she needed treatment after giving birth by Caesarean section.

Both her and the doctors remarked how the 17 minutes taken to do the operation was record breaking for the unit.

'I don't think they've ever done a C section that fast before, their speed saved his life.

'I wanted a natural delivery with Adam, as my other two kids were born by C section, and the hospital were very supportive.

'It was going OK until last thirty minutes. Blood tests were all normal, wasn't until in theatre that problems started.'

Adam was born big, unusual in that his dad, a 42 year old operational support grade worker at Norwich Prison, and mum are slim and average height. He was a fighter, a strong baby who fought for life after being born on the verge of death.

But he was also lucky, the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital's Neo Natal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is one of few hospitals who provide the therapeutic hypothermia treatment that saved his life.

The 'cooling mat' looks like large bubble wrap filled with icy water, the child is wrapped and tied up in it.

Adam spent seven days at the unit in total. Dr Mark Dyke, Consultant in Paediatrics at the hospital said: 'The condition that we treated in this case is perinatal hypoxia-ischaemia, where the baby suffers a reduced blood and oxygen supply from the placenta via the umbilical cord often due to complications in labour.

'The result is a baby who may suffer severe shock, which can be fatal in some cases, and/or organ failure.

'Where infants survive the early problems the risk of brain damage in the longer term is high – that's where the 'cooling mat' comes in. By reducing the body temperature (by 3-4 degrees C) for 72 hours we can reduce the risk of cerebral palsy or learning problems.

'We were the only unit in the East of England to be involved in the major trial in this country (ToBY Study) and have been offering this treatment for 4 years now. We cool 1-2 babies per month overall, many of whom come from other parts of the region specifically for this treatment.'

Adam's parents say he shows signs of having a minor problem with learning and has regular check ups but if that is all, then his survival and the work of NICU is nothing short of a miracle.

They also sorted out a feeding pattern for him, performing another miracle, as Mrs Jermy explains: 'They established his feeding pattern and now he sleeps through the night.

'I want to thank them for saving his life, and making him the only baby who doesn't wake you up at three in the morning. People are so jealous when they hear that!'

The child has two siblings, Alice 6 and Adrian 3. Now happy and contented and boisterously rolling around on the floor with loud toys, he has taken the decision, (according to mum) to give his Christmas presents to NICU's Cots for Tot appeal. Luckily, his Christmas presents just happened to be �100 cash.

'It's his way of saying thank you,' said Mrs Jermy.

'We owe them our lives, I just can't thank them enough.'

The cheque from Adam was delivered on Thursday, if you want to donate to the appeal, launched at the end of last year to buy four more intensive care or high-dependency incubators, and the associated building work and kitting-out needed at the hospital, visit http://www.justgiving.com/norwichnicu.

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