Premature Cwmbran baby home after 111-day ordeal ends
10:30am Friday 2nd August 2013 in News
PREPARING to leave the Royal Gwent Hospital’s neonatal unit with son Elisha, Maz Loder realised she had not thought about what it would be like to bring him home.
Born 14 weeks prematurely, weighing just 1lb 15oz, Elisha had spent 111 days clinging to life with the expert help of doctors and nurses, under the anxious gaze of Mrs Loder and husband Rob.
He stopped breathing almost every day, sometimes several times a day, while a large hole in his heart meant surgery to repair it was a possibility, before it began to close naturally.
It was a long, gruelling journey, but only when the nurse in charge gave them the OK to leave did it fully dawn on Mrs Loder she was finally taking her little boy home.
“I was sobbing and gasping for breath as we walked out,” she said.
“When the nursing sister came and said we could go, I realised I’d never actually pictured what it would be like when we came home.
“All the nurses and consultants came to see us go, and that was lovely because they’d been there from day one.”
Elisha was born on March 20, the joy at his arrival tempered by anxiety at his prematurity, and before the day was out by sorrow at the death from cancer of Mrs Loder’s mother Elizabeth Moyle.
As if giving birth and losing a parent on the same day was not enough, Mrs Loder knew she also had to contend with the fact of being considered at high risk of breast cancer, due to her family history.
Mrs Moyle, 58, fought a 16-year battle with the disease before it spread to her bones – having been diagnosed aged 42, the same year her mother died of breast cancer.
The Argus featured Elisha when he was two months old, weighed 2lb 9oz, and still five weeks short of his original due date.
Now he is home in Cwmbran and settling into family life.
Mrs Loder said he still has “blue” episodes when he stops breathing, but these are getting fewer.
They tend to happen when he is feeding and his lips will turn blue so his parents blow on his face or rub his back to get him breathing. CPR would be a last resort, but there has been no call for that yet.
Mrs Loder said doctors believe it could be connected to reflux (when milk and stomach acid comes back up into the oesophagus), and hope he will outgrow it rather than a need to step up his medication.
Elisha sees a dietician, speech and language therapist for sucking and co-ordination, a physiotherapist, attends a murmur clinic for his heart, and requires eye checks.
“Being premature, he has consultant-led care for at least two years, and a neonatal nurse comes to the house to asses him and his medication,” said Mrs Loder.
“His hole in the heart has closed and his murmur is reducing, so that’s great.
“It’s been a very long journey but it’s fantastic to have him home.”
Mum’s friends raise cash for cancer
AFTER more than three-anda- half months spent mostly at the Royal Gwent Hospital’s neo-natal unit, Mrs Loder is only now fully beginning to come to terms with her mother’s death and the breast cancer issue she faces.
Her high-risk status means she should have an annual mammogram, and her latest, due in May, had to be put on hold.
There is also her business, the hairdressing salon Maz’s Hairloom in Pontnewydd, Cwmbran, to attend to.
Staff there have raised money in recent months for cancer research, inspired by Mrs Moyle’s battle against the disease.
Senior stylist Claire Hester took on the challenge of a Cancer Research UK 10K Race For Life in Cardiff in June, ending up taking part on crutches after picking up a stress fracture in her foot during training.
“I’d been training a good few months because I wanted to post a respectable time,” she said.
“I was determined to complete the race somehow, and raised more than £500, which I’m really pleased with.”
Fellow senior stylist Sara Thomas raised £1,300 for Cancer Research UK by having her long hair shaved off in May.
“It’s growing back slowly, but it was a for a good cause,” she said.