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Sophie’s ward 1 story

28 February 2019

24-week-old Sophie is on Ward 1 at Sheffield Children’s with her mum and dad, Jennie and Rob, from Rotherham. She was born with necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a condition which effects the intestinal tract and is commonly found in babies born prematurely like Sophie. She is under the care of specialist surgeons here at Sheffield Children’s and is steadily on the mend.

Sophie has had two surgeries here at the hospital as part of her ongoing care plan, the second of which was to treat her twisted bowel which she developed alongside NEC. Her dad says: “It’s all done really slowly and she’s doing well so far. It’s difficult because she looks so well, although we know that these machines are keeping her alive.”

Sophie has spent most of her life in and out of numerous hospitals. At Christmas she was able to go home for a few weeks with her family. When they came back, mum said: “We were reassured to be back here, it’s like our second home.”

Mum Jennie described being in the hospital: “It makes all the difference having a good view and some space when you’re spending lots of time here.”

Dad added: “We’ve not had any worries about leaving her with the nurses. It’s reassuring that we both can just go to bed up in Treetops and know that they’ll call us if she’s upset and needs us. It’s a credit to the staff.”

Treetop House is a space in the hospital, run by the Sick Children’s Trust, allowing parents to stay overnight to keep families together.

Sophie’s condition means her intestinal tract stopped working and surgeons had to remove the damaged parts. She now has just 26cm of short intestine where she should have around two metres. Specialists here at the hospital are working to restructure her intestine to improve its function.

Dad says: “We’ve spoken about what she will be able to do, she’ll be able to go to school and take part in sports. Just maybe not contact sports.”

Sophie was born prematurely with her twin sister Jessica. Sadly she also had health problems and passed away soon after being born.

Both Jennie and Rob talk about how they’re still adjusting to being parents and said: “It all still feels so new.” They added, “The nurses are conscious of our wellbeing too. There are times when we ask lots of questions that they might have answered before but they are never impatient.”

Mum added: “The play specialists will come and give us an hour off. And the chaplains are lovely, they come and see us too. Our surgeon will come in and say “you have moved, haven’t you!” and we’ll say yes Basil, we have. It’s nice to have visits from lots of staff, Sophie loves to see new faces.”

Dad said: “Going home seems a million miles away but every day is a success.”

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