Due to a ruptured placenta, Otis unexpectedly arrived on 31/08/17, 14 weeks premature, weighing 1lb 5. He was born in a ‘poor condition’ and on day 1 we discovered Otis had bleeds on both sides of his brain, which had occurred in the womb (a grade 2 and a grade 3). His prognosis wasn’t good, and on day 28 he became critical. His brain bleeds developed to a grade 3 and 4, his oxygen requirement hit over 100% (a percentage we thought was impossible) and his blood pressure reading dropped to 12. But Otis kept fighting.
In total Otis spent 118 days being cared for by the truly awesome Neonatal Intensive Care Unit linked to Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital. He was aided by 37 types of medication – including 3 courses of steroids. Ventilated for 36 days, CPAP for 24 and High Flow for 40 – he then proved us all wrong by breathing in air, and still remains self ventilated. He underwent 5 blood transfusions, 2 platelet transfusions, 2 lumbar punctures and laser eye surgery. He endured Jaundice, 2 bouts of E. coli, a Fungal Infection, Septicicaemia, Candida sepsis, a UTI, a PDA, Hydrocephalus, Chronic Lung Disease and ROP grade 3. However, our hero Otis was discharged from hospital on the 27th of December 2017, and we spent an incredible 8 months at home getting to know our boy until just after Otis’ first birthday.
In September 2018 Otis contracted a chest infection and was admitted to a general ward within Noah’s Ark. Frighteningly, Otis’ condition rapidly deteriorated and within 24 hours, he was transferred to the Paediatric Critical Care Unit (PCCU) where he was sedated and ventilated for 8 days. One of his lungs had collapsed and his infection progressed into a particularly fierce strain of influenza. It’s hard to describe the fear we felt through that time. The sounds of the machines instantly brought back the memories of NICU, and we watched on, helpless once more, whilst Noah’s Ark treated Otis. Otis spent a further three weeks in Noah’s Ark, and we were supported in our ‘home away from home’ at Ronald McDonald House Cardiff.
Following his discharge further tests were arranged for Otis, which found that Otis had gastro-oesophageal reflux disease and an unsafe swallow. He was therefore referred to a new Speech and Language Therapist and Dietician to help us achieve the best for Otis. We continued with Otis’ many appointments, such as the eye clinic, his super ace Physiotherapist and scans through Radiology. Otis also started hanging out with a new Child Minder (who he adores) and meeting family friends and new little people. Life was on the up.
Until December 2018 when Otis contracted three different viruses; RSV, rhinovirus and norovirus. Within three hours of being admitted to Noah’s Ark Otis was transferred back to PCCU, we were numb. But true to Otis’ fighting spirit, he was discharged after 10 days and home in time for Christmas. He really does never cease to amaze us!
We have a journey yet to travel, but we keep hope in our hearts. Otis is a smiley boy, with a cheeky nature and a hearty laugh. He loves food, baby T.V. and plenty of attention; perhaps because he has spent so much time being spoilt by the wonderful Noah’s Ark staff! He is our most favourite human, and without the support and care of Noah’s Ark and Ronald McDonald House Cardiff, we wouldn’t be where we are today.