Premature baby survives against the odds

Luna Riley was born six weeks prematurely and had to undergo life-saving surgery. Photo: Rhiannon Hu

Luna Riley was born six weeks prematurely and had to undergo life-saving surgery. Photo: Rhiannon Hutcherson - Credit: Archant

A new mother is praising the charity which supported her through “an incredibly traumatic” time after her baby almost died.

Luna Riley was born six weeks prematurely and had to undergo life-saving surgery. Photo: Rhiannon Hu

Luna Riley was born six weeks prematurely and had to undergo life-saving surgery. Photo: Rhiannon Hutcherson - Credit: Archant

Six-month-old Luna Riley spent the first seven weeks of her life in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) after being born prematurely and needing life-saving surgery.

Her parents, Rhiannon Hutcherson, 20, and Zak Riley, 22, from Thetford have thanked the Sick Children’s Trust for giving them somewhere to stay near the specialist hospital caring for their daughter.

Miss Hutcherson said: “It was somewhere to retire when it all got too much on the ward and a place of sanctuary at night when we needed to rest in order to be strong for Luna the following day.”

Luna was treated at The Rosie Hospital in Cambridge, a specialist maternity centre, which would have been a 90-mile trip everyday for her parents if it were not for the Home From Home offered by the Sick Children’s Trust.

Luna Riley was born six weeks prematurely and had to undergo life-saving surgery. Photo: Rhiannon Hu

Luna Riley was born six weeks prematurely and had to undergo life-saving surgery. Photo: Rhiannon Hutcherson - Credit: Archant


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“It was amazing, and literally two minutes from our baby girl,” said Miss Hutcherson.

“There was also a phone in our bedroom with a direct line to NICU, so at night when we did leave Luna’s side to get some much-needed rest, it was a comfort to know that if anything changed we would know immediately.”

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Luna was born six weeks prematurely weighing just 3lb 4oz and was unable to breathe on her own.

Her condition deteriorated and she developed necrotising entercolitis where the bowel tissue in premature babies becomes inflamed and has potentially fatal consequences.

Luna Riley was born six weeks prematurely and had to undergo life-saving surgery. Photo: Rhiannon Hu

Luna Riley was born six weeks prematurely and had to undergo life-saving surgery. Photo: Rhiannon Hutcherson - Credit: Archant

“We waited three hours while doctors performed surgery and there was no way we could’ve ever left her alone,” said Miss Hutcherson.

“I’ve never been so thankful to anyone in my life and they have been the lifeline through an incredibly traumatic time.”

The Sick Children’s Trust is running a campaign throughout May asking people to host a Big Chocolate Tea party with the aim of raising just £30.

This can fund a family’s stay in a Home From Home for one night to be closer to their child.

Luna Riley was born six weeks prematurely and had to undergo life-saving surgery. Photo: Rhiannon Hu

Luna Riley was born six weeks prematurely and had to undergo life-saving surgery. Photo: Rhiannon Hutcherson - Credit: Archant

To get involved visit sickchildrenstrust.org/bigchoctea

Luna Riley was born six weeks prematurely and had to undergo life-saving surgery. Photo: Rhiannon Hu

Luna Riley was born six weeks prematurely and had to undergo life-saving surgery. Photo: Rhiannon Hutcherson - Credit: Archant

Luna Riley was born six weeks prematurely and had to undergo life-saving surgery. Photo: Rhiannon Hu

Luna Riley was born six weeks prematurely and had to undergo life-saving surgery. Photo: Rhiannon Hutcherson - Credit: Archant

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