A COUPLE have told the story of how quick action helped save their premature baby's life - and praised the team that helped them.

Couple Julie Gardhouse and Alex Studholme from Wigton were rushed to hospital earlier this year after Julie started to bleed.

Julie said: "When I was 30 weeks pregnant I started bleeding quite badly.

"I started being very poorly with my heart rate dropping and increasing sporadically. Our son’s levels were also changing quickly on the monitor which was very concerning.

"I was put on a drip. We were told he would be born within the next two hours.

"Everything was happening so fast and it was difficult for us to take everything in, it was very surreal. The decision was made that I would need an emergency caesarean – our baby was coming now.

"Within 15 minutes of being in theatre our beautiful baby boy, Sonny Mark Studholme, was born ten weeks early, weighing a tiny but mighty 3lbs 2oz.

"It didn't feel real at the time. I remember asking if Sonny was alive. Alex was able to have a quick look at Sonny before he was whisked away as he was having trouble breathing, needed chest compressions and specialist care.

"It was really hard not being able to hold Sonny instantly like all parents expect they will be able to, but Sonny was struggling and needed to get the best care.

"He was alive, which was our main priority."

Sonny was taken to the special care ward to be monitored, then transferred to the RVI in Newcastle.

"Our hearts sank," Julie said. "I still hadn’t recovered enough to be able to travel with him, so as he was transferred in the ambulance. Alex followed his car and I was left in a completely different hospital, separated from both of them."

Alex said: "When I arrived in Newcastle Sonny was being taken onto the intensive care ward where he was put on a machine to assist with his breathing. The RVI was not what I expected at all.

"I was able to change Sonny’s nappy for the first time and help with his care. This was quite daunting as a new dad as I’d never really looked after a baby before. Trying to do it on such a small baby in an incubator with wires and tubes everywhere made it even more challenging."

Julie said: "When I arrived 24 hours later they were moving Sonny to the high dependency unit so he had already reached a massive milestone by being able to leave intensive care. I was just so relieved to be back with my little family.

"I was admitted to the post-natal ward just around the corner from Sonny and for the next two days Alex travelled back and forward from our home in Wigton, to the RVI everyday.

"Shortly after I was admitted we were told we had a place to stay at Crawford House. We’d never heard of Crawford House or the Sick Children’s Trust before, but it’s a ‘home from home’ ran by the charity and located on the hospital site.

"We had our own room where we could get some rest and cook actual dinners in the communal kitchen. With Sonny being that premature anything could have happened in those early days and I couldn’t bear to leave him.

"The Sick Children’s Trust made sure we never had to, and took all that extra pressure away."

"We had to wait three days before we could hold our son for the first time.

"Sonny spent 13 days at the RVI and for that entire time we stayed at Crawford House. His breathing started to improve a lot during this time, he was quickly gaining weight and got stronger everyday.

"Sonny was then transferred back to Carlisle for five more weeks before we could finally bring our baby boy home."