Lilly’s story – Neonatal Surgical Unit

19 March 2019

Lilly Espin was born three weeks early, with jaundice and suffering from an extremely bloated stomach.

Dad said: “Lilly was dormant, she didn’t really react to anything. The night she was born – her stomach was so swollen they took her straight to Sheffield Children’s.”

Lilly, from Worksop, was rushed straight to Sheffield Children’s hospital where staff investigated what the problem was. She was diagnosed with a bowel problem called Meconium Ileus. This is a bowel obstruction that occurs when the meconium (baby’s first poo) in a child’s intestine is even thicker and stickier than normal meconium. It creates a blockage in a part of the small intestine called the ileum.

Despite her illness, Dad said: “After the surgery, even when she had problems, she still smiled every time.”

During the first month of her stay in hospital she was fitted with an ileostomy bag that she kept for four months. She had a number of operations whilst at the hospital, including reversal surgery to reseal her intestine.

Lilly’s Dad talked about being at the hospital while she was recovering: “The new wards were brilliant. There was more space and privacy. The staff were amazing. The nurses made our time there manageable. When we needed time for ourselves they would support us.”

He added: “The godsend was the house, Magnolia House, it was brilliant.” Magnolia and Treetop house accommodate parents, allowing them to keep families together when a child is in hospital. This is provided by The Sick Children’s Trust.

She’s now 11 months old and is trying to take her first steps. The family, including with Lilly’s four year old sister, are grateful for the care they received at Sheffield Children’s.

Mum said: “When we were on NSU the staff were all so helpful and nice too. Even with our oldest.”

Dad said about Lilly’s recovery: “Now Lilly will eat absolutely everything, she’s becoming a right little chunk! We gave her a bowl of brussel sprouts and she devoured them.”

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