Isabella and her family are from Barnsley, and they have been visiting us since the hospice opened. Her mum, Sandra, tells her story.

“I was quite poorly during my pregnancy, and had pre-eclampsia- which meant I needed to be induced at 38 weeks. When Issy was born, she was blue, floppy and unresponsive, and had to be resuscitated straight away.  She was put on a ventilator and went straight into the special care baby unit.  I only had pictures of her and couldn’t cuddle her, or touch her.

“Early on, we were told that she was really badly brain damaged, due to being starved of oxygen too long at birth. That was an incredibly hard day, just waiting to see whether she would live or she would die. She kept having seizures and stopping breathing, but we still wanted to fight for her.

“The next morning, I woke up at 3am with a strong urge to see her. The nurses told me that Isabella had fought really hard that night, but she was getting tired and we should think about having her christened. All our family came to the hospital to say their goodbyes.  We had decided if Isabella stopped breathing again, then we wouldn’t resuscitate her. At 12:00, during her Christening, a huge rainbow shone through the window, directly over Issy’s incubator. That felt like such a miraculous moment, we decided there and then we wanted to fight to the end for her, and we have done ever since.

“Two weeks later, she came off the ventilator, but was still very poorly. We were told she wouldn’t make it, but I was ready to take her home. We just wanted to put her in her own cot and moses basket - even if it was just once. She was home for less than 48 hours when we were readmitted to hospital, as I couldn’t manage her at home and really struggled.

“We were told about a hospice when Isabella was six months old, but Bluebell Wood wasn’t open yet.  When you hear the word hospice, it freaks you out a bit. We didn’t even want to go to a hospice, not even to look around.  But as Isabella was still struggling to fight, we were introduced to Bluebell Wood.

We were one of the first ever families to use the hospice- when I walked through the doors I couldn’t believe it. I used Bluebell Wood just to sleep and recharge. Issy would stop breathing, mainly at night, as her airways would get blocked. I had to sit at the side of her cot all night, listening to her breathe, and wondering if this would be her last breath. I was shattered, and Bluebell Wood gave me a place to relax.  I could lie beside Issy without getting up, knowing one of the nurses would give her medication and suction to clear her airways. When we’re at Bluebell Wood, Issy and her little brother Toby like to play out in the garden and in the ball pool. 

“Bluebell Wood is such a support to my whole family. When I was pregnant with Toby, I was told at 18 weeks that they thought something was seriously wrong with him. I had to have lots of tests and went into the hospice and the nurses supported me.”

“I’d encourage everyone who can to please donate to Bluebell Wood. You’ll never ever know when you’re going to need them. One minute you think you’re going to have a fit and healthy child, and the next moment, that all changes. You never know what the future brings – so please help if you can.”