‘We had to treat his skin like tissue paper – Stevenage family welcome home little Jaxon after HELLP ordeal saw him born more than three months premature
- Credit: Archant
It’s a lovely picture of a loving family – but it’s only been made possible thanks to dedicated and highly-skilled medical help during three long months of hope and heartache.
Lauren Chapman was only 25 weeks pregnant when she suddenly developed severe pain while at home with her partner Sean Compton and two-year-old daughter Evie-Rose.
The 25-year-old said “Sean took me to the maternity unit at the Lister Hospital at 1am.
“They said my blood pressure was dangerously high and I was admitted to the high dependency unit. It was so scary for us all.”
Blood tests showed Lauren had HELLP syndrome, a pregnancy complication which meant that her baby needed to be delivered immediately.
She said: “The next eight hours were unbelievable. I had 10 doctors treating me, and other doctors monitoring the baby – I was having my liver scanned on the way down to have a C-section.”
Lauren’s condition also meant that it was too dangerous for her to have an epidural and be awake for the birth, and she had to be put under general anaesthetic.
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“The doctors said they had to deliver my baby to save me – we didn’t know if he would survive as he was so early.
“It was an awful situation as I had to think about my daughter at home needing her mum, and about my baby boy. We were all so frightened.”
Jaxon Mark Compton was born at 10.32am on October 25, the day after Lauren had been rushed in. He was so small he was placed in a plastic bag to keep warm.
Lauren recalled: “When I woke up they wheeled him in and I got to see him for just 10 seconds – as a mum it was hard to deal with.”
Dad Sean, also 25, watched on as doctors fought to save his partner and his tiny son.
“He was amazing the whole time, he was strong for us despite not knowing if we would live or die – he was my rock,” said Lauren, who’s been with Sean with eight years.
Jaxon was stabilised then transferred to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge where he was put in an incubator.
“As he was so small and fragile, we could only have minimal touching.
“We had to treat his skin like tissue paper – it was see-through.”
Lauren’s health recovered, and she and Sean made the trip to Cambridge to see Jaxon twice every day – bringing big sister Evie-Rose with them four times every week.
When Evie-Rose wasn’t at the hospital she was being looked after by Lauren’s parents Maria and Mark, as well as Sean’s mum Mandie.
“Luckily we’ve had amazing support from family so we could be there for Jaxon.
“We told Evie that he had been born and that he was very tiny so he couldn’t come home yet.
“Staff at the hospital were fantastic, they let her draw pictures for Jaxon and she spent time with him.”
The family faced further anguish when Jaxon reached three weeks old as doctors thought he had developed meningitis – he had to have a lumbar puncture before that frightening possibility was ruled out.
It was seven weeks before Jaxon was well enough to return to the Lister Hospital on a stepped-down ventilator that kept his lungs inflated.
Lauren said: “As soon as he got back to the Lister things continued to get better and better.
“The staff were wonderful, they were so friendly and reassuring at such a scary time for us – when we couldn’t be with Jaxon they answered our telephone calls any time of the day or night and kept us updated.”
After a further five weeks in hospital, the doctors gave Sean and Lauren the news they thought they may never hear.
She said: “When they told us he could come home we were just over the moon. We couldn’t believe that we had finally heard those words.
“Before he came home we spent a night at the hospital with him so we could have the help of the nurses if we needed them.
“They gave us first aid training, taught us the things to look out for and did the final checks.
“My mum and dad put banners up to surprise us when we came home – we all got really emotional.”
Jaxon has settled in well to the family’s Stevenage home and other than needing oxygen, which he will be weaned off, he is doing well.
And big sister Evie is pleased to have her little brother home at last.
“It’s just so perfect. Evie adores Jaxon and he is a happy and content little boy,” added Lauren. “To have our family together after the longest and hardest time of our lives – the feeling is incredible.”