Why we fly
Autumn-Rose looked so safe and I knew she was in good hands. It was such an unexpected situation for me to find myself in and the helicopter pilots and team were amazing. They introduced themselves and talked me through the whole procedure for getting her home.
First-time mum Kerri says she “had never been so scared, upset and confused in my whole life” as when she was watching her tiny baby being carefully loaded onto the Children’s Air Ambulance for a flight to their home town 174 miles away.
Autumn-Rose was born by emergency C-section two days earlier at the James Paget Hospital in Great Yarmouth and she needed to be transferred to the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford, Kent as quickly as possible.
There is a parent seat on the helicopter but it was too soon after surgery for Kerri to fly with her daughter.
A specialist neo-natal team from Embrace – Yorkshire & Humber Infant & Children’s Transport Service – prepared Autumn-Rose for the flight, made her comfortable in the bespoke BabyPod on board the helicopter and accompanied her on the 48 minute southbound journey.
“Autumn-Rose looked so safe and I knew she was in good hands. It was such an unexpected situation for me to find myself in and the helicopter pilots and team were amazing. They introduced themselves and talked me through the whole procedure for getting her home,” says Kerri.
She watched the helicopter take off and then had to wait to be discharged by the hospital before she and her fiancé Shane could drive to Ashford to be reunited with their daughter at the local hospital – a journey which took them over four and a half hours by road.
“It’s amazing how quickly Autumn-Rose got to Ashford. My mum was waiting at the hospital for her and phoned to tell us she had arrived safely. When we got the call we were still in Great Yarmouth and I hadn’t even been discharged,” explains Kerri.
She and Shane were on holiday in Beccles when they became concerned that Kerri hadn’t felt their baby move for a while.
It was August Bank Holiday Monday so they phoned NHS 111 and were advised to go to the nearest hospital in Great Yarmouth to be checked out.
Kerri was attached to a monitor which revealed a problem with her baby’s heartbeat so it was decided to perform an emergency C-section.
After two days in the Special Care Baby Unit arrangements were made to transfer Autumn-Rose back to the hospital in her home town.
By the time Kerri and Shane arrived in Ashford, Autumn-Rose was settled in the intensive care unit where she spent a week before being moved to the neonatal unit.
For another three weeks her parents spent 14 hours a day at the hospital with her and were delighted when she was finally discharged 26 days after she was born weighing 4.8lbs.
“We will never forget the part the Children’s Air Ambulance played in getting the Embrace team to Great Yarmouth and then transferring them back with our daughter to the local hospital. We knew she was in the safest hands possible.
“When we found out it is a charity and receives no government funding we decided to do some fundraising towards the cost of Autumn-Rose’s flight. What they did for us was amazing, says Kerri.