Frankie's Story

Frankie's Story

Frankie was born 7th March 2022 at Arrowe Park Hospital. However, prior to his birth, he had been diagnosed with gastroschisis which meant he would be transferred to Alder Hey within just three hours of birth for an urgent operation. 

Gastroschisis is a rare condition which affects only 1 in 3,000 babies. This meant Frankie was born with his bowels on the outside of his stomach, and surgery would be needed to put them back. 

However, these operations can only be done in a specialised children’s hospital with full paediatric surgery facilities such as Alder Hey, so Frankie and his family had to leave their local hospital Arrowe Park and make the trip over the water to an unfamiliar environment. 

Frankie’s mum Jessica was also separated from Frankie during his first night at Alder Hey while she was waiting to be discharged from Arrowe Park. This meant that she was unable to see her newborn baby until the next day, apart from five minutes before the transport team had to move him to Alder Hey. 

At midnight that same evening, mum Jessica received the phone call to confirm that all had gone well with the one hour-long operation, and that Frankie was recovering in the Neonatal Unit on the cardiac ward at Alder Hey! 

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Despite a difficult experience, Frankie was reunited with mum Jessica the next day. He now continues to recover in Alder Hey and having been told that he wouldn’t feed for a long time following the operation, Frankie is exceeding expectations and is already feeding on small bottles. 

Frankie’s mum Jessica said: “I couldn’t be prouder if my son and I couldn’t be more grateful for every single staff member at Alder Hey. He is now feeding on small bottles but to be told originally that he wouldn’t feed for a long time, it’s amazing to see how far he has come. We have had a few setbacks, but we always keep a positive mind.”

Speaking on her experience following Frankie’s birth, she said: “The new NICU unit would have definitely benefitted us, going to different hospitals can be quite confusing and finding your way around can be quite stressful. If there was one place you could go for all of it, that would be amazing! It would also allow you to get to know the same staff members and start to form a little bond with them, the doctors, nurses, and other staff. When you start having conversations with these people and get familiar with a place, it makes you feel more comfortable. 

“When your baby is away from you, you want to be able to go somewhere where you can see them, you want to feel safe and familiarised instead of going to a new place and being worried about your child, whilst also not knowing the people there. 

“The whole family being able to stay over would be nice, as it can give you the feeling of being able to take your baby home after birth. Just being able to have the family together would make you feel much more comfortable.

“I was a bit worried at first about just going to a different hospital after Frankie was born, especially because I live over the water on the Wirral and going a bit out of the way. It was a struggle to get used to it all but now that we’re here, it’s been lovely!”

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