3rd Jul, 2022

Premature born youngster reveals new portraits at University Hospital exhibition

A CITY youngster who was born so prematurely that his head was the size of a tennis ball helped unveil a unique series of portraits at a University Hospital Coventry exhibition.

Noah is among 17 children and adults to have their photograph taken while holding a picture of themselves when they were born prematurely.

The ten-year-old and his brother George were born were with their skin see-through and their eyelids still fused when just 23 weeks into pregnancy.

Sadly, George died five days after being born – but Noah amazed doctors and defied the less than five per cent chance the twins were given of survival.

When younger, Noah suffered from bleeds on the brain, collapsed lungs, a heart defect, 16 blood transfusions, a double hernia operation and required laser surgery on his eyes to prevent him from going blind.

It is hoped the portraits – which are now displayed on the walls outside the Neonatal Unit at University Hospital – will give hope to the parents of hundreds of premature babies cared for at the hospital each year.

Noah’s portrait shows the stark contrast between him as a premature baby and the outgoing child he is today.

Talking about Noah’s younger years, proud mum Claire said: “He spent 112 days in the Unit – it was a complete rollercoaster of emotions, some days it felt like we took two steps forward and four steps back.

“We think these pictures are a fantastic idea, the walk from the main entrance to the unit each day seemed so long and lonely, these are the kind of pictures we would have liked to have seen on the walls.”

Neonatal Unit Sister Jo Bradshaw said: “The idea behind the photographs is to give hope to parents who have the shock of finding themselves with a premature baby.

“For babies born as early as 23 weeks into pregnancy like Noah it can be a particularly long road to recovery and they can spend six months on the Unit until they are well enough to go home.

“We hope the photographs give hope to worried parents.”

The exhibition was made possible thanks to University Hospital Voluntary Services Charity.

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