Alder Hey charity PJ campaign mum says she’s proud to help make a fantastic hospital even better
2 months ago
Being part of Alder Hey’s new pyjama campaign means a lot to new mum Jessica Short – because every time she gets baby boy Frankie ready for bed and lays him down, she realises how lucky she is to be able to enjoy that magical moment.
“It’s more special than ever after what we have been through,” says Jess. “Every time I bath him and get him ready for bed, I feel so lucky.
“I remember going into Alder Hey and being really upset about everything that was happening, but then I saw things that made me feel so fortunate.
“I realised that my child was there to get better and there were other children who weren’t doing as well and for whom the prognosis was not so positive.
“It’s a humbling experience.”
And she adds: “We were so well looked after by Alder Hey and I am so grateful to them, that when they asked me to take part in the new campaign and be an ambassador, I was more than happy to be involved.
“When we were there, our experience was so personalised and all the facilities there were so fab. They are making a fantastic hospital even better, creating a space where all the family can stay there together which we didn’t have.
“Being a part of the campaign and making it better for other people, other families like ours, makes you feel good.”
All profits from the Matalan X Alder Hey Children’s Charity Pyjama Campaign will go to Alder Hey Children’s Charity’s Surgical Neonatal Appeal. The Appeal will raise money to help to support the build of a new state-of-the-art Surgical Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), on the site of Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.
In partnership with Liverpool Women’s Hospital, the new unit will be the first of its kind in the UK to provide Family Integrated Care and will provide a safer service for babies, reducing the number of transfers of newborns between both hospitals by 50%, and allowing neonatal babies to receive the treatment and expert care needed with their families close by, thanks to individual family rooms where parents stay alongside their newborns 24 hours a day.
Jess, 18, from Liscard was 12 weeks’ pregnant when she discovered her baby had gastroschisis, which means that his bowels were on the outside of his body.
Gastroschisis is a rare condition that affects only 1 in 3,000 babies, and meant that Frankie needed an operation at Alder Hey within hours of his birth at Arrowe Park Hospital in March.
And Jess admits it was a lot for her and Frankie’s dad, Sam Hayes, to come to terms with.
“We were shocked at first, but I think we were lucky to find out early so we had months to prepare and find out what was going to happen.
“Alder Hey assured us it wasn’t the first time they had seen it, and they were really informative so we knew what was going to happen. They were amazing.”
Frankie was in hospital for two months following surgery and Jess says: “The new NICU unit would have definitely benefited us, going to different hospitals can be quite confusing and finding your way around can be quite stressful. If there was one place you could go for all of it, that would be amazing! It would also allow you to get to know the same staff members and start to form a bond with them, the doctors, nurses, and other staff.”
Now though, she and Sam are looking forward to family life together and bringing up a healthy little boy.
“Frankie is doing well. We were originally told that he wouldn’t feed for a long time but he is already feeding on small bottles, and I couldn’t be prouder of my little boy – and I couldn’t be more grateful to every single member of staff at Alder Hey.
“Every single nurse on the neo-natal unit was amazing. The way they cared about each and every child proves not only that they love their job, but that they love helping others, and that was beautiful to see.”
Jess adds: “We are so lucky, and every time I put him in his new Alder Hey pyjamas and tuck him in bed with his Alder Hey Oli the Elephant, and know that Frankie is going to be okay, I’m reminded of just how lucky we are.”