Posted Friday, June 21, 2019 3:47 PM
Sherwood Forest Hospitals’ Neonatal Intensive Care Unit had a very special visitor on Wednesday 19 June who came in to thank the team for saving her life 43 years ago.
Born 13 weeks early in 1976, weighing just 960 grams, Sarah Field, was born at the old Dukeries Hospital which used to sit on the King’s Mill Hospital site. She is currently visiting her Mum on the stroke unit, and thought it would be a fitting tribute to visit the neonatal team on her birthday.
Sarah visited the unit and spent some time chatting to Practice Development Matron, Kate Rogers and Specialist Midwife Dianne Best, both of whom started their careers at the Dukeries Hospital and Neonatal Nurse Simon Randal, who works on NICU.
Sarah said: “I’m pleased that I got the chance to come and say thank you to staff for their care and for saving my life. I hope that by seeing me 43 years on, my story can give new parents of neonatal babies some hope. If they could save me 43 years ago, it definitely says something about the care that can be given and the outcomes that are possible. I have had premature children of my own and it’s only by going through that, that I now understand the significance of what my parents went through. My Son, Toby, was born at 37 weeks and my daughter, Matilda, was born at 35 weeks, so I know what it is like to go through as a mother, but knowing that I had battled through and survived at just 27 weeks in 1976 gave me a lot of strength and hope at the time.”
Sarah’s Dad, Dennis, 72, from Forest Town in Mansfield, remembering when Sarah was born, said: “All of our interactions with the hospital from back then to present day have been superb and I really can’t fault the staff. In fact, when Sarah was born, we were that happy with the care that we went on holiday whilst she was in hospital. The nurses encouraged us and were so supportive so we knew she was being well looked after and that she was in safe hands. She was in hospital for 13 weeks and was discharged on her due date, so it was a long time for her to be in. Things were very different in 1976 to what they are now, myself and my wife, Sheena, had to dress in gowns and protective gloves before we could even go behind a glass panel to see Sarah due to infection control regulations. Not like it is today when they encourage skin to skin contact from very early on.”
Dennis added: “The staff did such a good job that we joked when we brought Sarah home that we had a ‘trained baby’ as she was already in such a stable routine, so we didn’t have many sleepless nights with her at all! It has been brilliant to come back today though to thank people and talk about how things are now, the unit has come such a long way and it’s brilliant to talk about what can be done for premature babies now.”
Sarah now lives in Melbourne Australia with her husband Nick and two children Toby, 12 and Matilda, 6 after travelling there after they had graduated from university and deciding that they would settle down and move there as they loved it so much. She is visiting her Mum, Sheena, at King’s Mill Hospital after she unfortunately had a stroke a week ago.
Practice Development Matron, Kate Rogers, who has been a midwife for 24 years and started her career at Dukeries Hospital said: “It was lovely to meet Sarah and Dennis and talk about their time at Dukeries and how things were then and how they have changed and developed now. We have certainly come a long way on the unit since 1976. We wish Sarah’s Mum Sheena all the best in her recovery and hope that she can return to the comfort of her own home soon.”