Sprowston couple’s baby joy after tragedy

A couple who lost their first child at birth have paid tribute to the caring staff who helped them through their heartache – and through their fears for their second child, born prematurely and weighing just 3lbs 4oz.

Sandra and Phil Jordan, from Mountbatten Drive, Sprowston, have praised the life-saving skills of the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and the care shown by East Anglia's Children's Hospice (EACH) at Quidenham as they finally settle into parenthood with 11-week-old Lincoln, who was born eight weeks prematurely.

The couple had previously suffered the trauma of losing a child at birth, when daughter Gabriella was stillborn in April 2011 after being diagnosed with Edward's Syndrome in the womb.

They had spent �13,000 on IVF treatment prior to conception and a room had been prepared at Quidenham for Gabriella should she have survived.

EACH continued to support them as they came to terms with the loss and they are still in regular contact with them.

Mrs Jordan said: 'The people at EACH were there for us all the time. They were amazing, the little touches show just how much they care and the support continues even now.'

Mr Jordan, a 37-year-old bricklayer, said: 'It is not something you will ever get over. It leaves an empty part in your life. You go to sleep easily at night because you are so exhausted from it all, and when you wake up in the morning for a split second everything is fine, and then you remember.

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'But at EACH there is someone to talk to all the time: they really helped us through it.'

With the support of EACH they came through and were determined to try again. July and September 2011 saw repeated failed IVFs at a clinic in London; by this time they had spent a further �9,000.

But finally Mrs Jordan became pregnant, and despite concerns about a repeated risk, this time things proceeded well before her waters broke as she walked around a supermarket in early May, at only 29 weeks into the pregnancy.

She was in the hospital for a week before doctors decided they needed to perform an emergency Caesarean. Lincoln was born and immediately transferred to an incubator in the Neo Natal Unit.

Nearly seven hours later Mrs Jordan, a 44-year-old team leader at The Job Centre, finally got to hold her son, who weighed 3lbs 4oz.

Lincoln was named after a rough-and-ready character from the TV drama series Prison Break, as they could see from the start he was a fighter.

He spent five weeks being cared for in the unit, during which time he earned the nickname 'legend' from the staff for the progress he made.

But there is no doubt in the family's mind who are the legends.

Mrs Jordan said: 'Lincoln would not be here without the staff at NICU. I know he is a fighter and has done all he should but they are amazing, life savers.

Mr Jordan added: 'You cannot thank them enough. If there is any problem they act so swiftly, they are so cool and never let the situation get to them.'

Lincoln hit the 7lb mark last week, and his parents feel they can finally allow themselves a moment to look to the future.

'We are just looking for looking forward to him doing all the normal things kids do, first day at school, taking him over the park to play football, university one day, hopefully,' said Mr Jordan.

Mrs Jordan added: 'He will know all about his big sister, we feel she has been watching over him and that is why he is doing so well.'

Mr and Mrs Jordan would also like to thank the staff at East Norwich Medical Partnership in Sprowston.

The pair hope to be involved in fundraising for NICU and EACH when Lincoln is older, and have a friend - hairdresser Louise Bartram from Betty Christina Hair Fashions in Allens Avenue, Sprowston - who is doing a skydive for EACH, inspired by their story.

Mrs Jordan said: 'I hope people will follow her example, we did not know EACH existed until we had Gabriella but we are part of their family now.

'We need to raise the awareness of these amazing people, both NICU and EACH deserve more support themselves.'

To sponsor the skydive, visit www.justgiving.com/Louise-Bartman.