Belfast Telegraph

Friday 27 May 2016

We nearly lost our little Oswin so many times - he really is our miracle baby

By Joanne Sweeney

Published 06/01/2016

Baby Oswin with mum Ruth
Baby Oswin with mum Ruth
Oswin in hospital
Oswin with dad Christopher

His parents call him their "miracle baby" for surviving against all the odds after being born at just 26 weeks.

Little Oswin Garrett has also beaten two potentially fatal health conditions - including the bacterial disease pseudomonas - was resuscitated three times, and may still suffer blindness in later life.

But the 13-month-old from Banbridge, Co Down, is still smiling.

Now a healthy 22lbs, Oswin weighed just under 2lbs at birth.

His parents Ruth Garrett and Christopher Sheppard have spoken about their son's fight for life over the last 13 months.

They want to warn others about a condition that threatened both Ruth and Oswin's lives.

Ruth had preterm premature rupture of membranes (PPROM), associated with 40% of premature births and some stillbirths.

She believes that she owes Oswin's life to a chance reading of an article that warned against the condition - and the dedicated care of hospital medical teams.

Ruth had an emergency Caesarean on December 4, 2014 after it was discovered there was no fluid around Oswin in her womb. "I had not felt Oswin kick for two days and knew there was something desperately wrong with my baby," Ruth told the Belfast Telegraph.

"Two days before I got a test to see if my waters were leaking, but it came back negative. But it was wrong; when I was taken to hospital there was no fluid around Oswin. My waters had been leaking for 10 days."

Ruth, who named her only child after an English king from the early Middle Ages, said: "Oswin means God's Friend and I really believe it's the right name, for although we are not greatly religious, I think God was looking over him.

"I read an article on Facebook about another couple who lost their baby due to PPROM.

"If it hadn't been for that article I wouldn't have pushed when I just knew that things weren't right. Only for my gut instinct, and a midwife who listened, things could have been very different."

Oswin was resuscitated at birth at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, had chronic lung function and was incubated immediately and fed intravenously.

Within days he had pseudomonas and another serious condition, necrotising entreocolitis, a problem with his intestine.

He had nine blood transfusions, developed pneumonia and was cared for around the clock at the Children's Hospital neonatal unit and Craigavon Area Hospital neonatal unit.

"Doctors told us to prepare for the worst at least three times while he was in hospital for three-and-a-half months," said Ruth.

Amazingly, Oswin was not clear of pseudomonas until the day he was discharged from hospital.

But, five days later, he had to undergo eye surgery as he had developed retinopathy of prematurity, which can cause blindness.

Ruth added: "There is still some damage to Oswin's eyes and we will not know the extent until he is older, but we are so thankful for his exemplary care at the RVH and Craigavon. It was world-class.

"If we can raise awareness for mothers to count their baby's kicks or monitor any change in the baby's movement to get in touch with their midwife or GP right away, then it will be worth it.

"We nearly lost Oswin so many times - he's our miracle baby."

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