When Robbie Harrison was born via a C-section two days before Christmas Day he was rushed into intensive care, leaving mum and dad, Nikki and Andrew, fearing the worst.
The youngster had meconium aspiration syndrome, which occurs when a baby breathes in amniotic fluid containing meconium (the baby’s first stools) blocking small airways and preventing the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide after birth.
When doctors said Robbie needed to be moved to Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) in Glasgow, they told the Livingston couple their first born child may not survive the journey.
But thankfully brave Robbie pulled through and spent more than two weeks at the Glasgow hospital where he was heavily sedated, surrounded by tubes and on a machine that made him vibrate to help shift the meconium.
Primary School teacher Nikki, 29, admitted to feeling unattached from Robbie as he looked seriously ill – she wasn’t even able to hold him until 12 days after he was born.
Although meconium aspiration syndrome often improves within a few days, severe meconium aspiration, and the respiratory problems it causes, may lead to death in a small number of babies. But Robbie battled on and has made a remarkable recovery, moving on to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and St John’s Hospital for treatment.
And Nikki told the Evening News it is hard to believe the trauma they’ve faced when they look at their bubbly boy. The couple decided to raise cash for the hard work and dedication of staff at the three hospitals for helping to save Robbie’s life.
They walked a mile a day for 33 days, for each day Robbie spent in hospital, which culminated on Sunday dozens of people walked from Howden Park to St John’s Hospital.
At their destination they split the £2730 raised on a gofundme page between the Edinburgh and Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charities as well as Edinburgh and Lothians Health Foundation.
“I could never have imagined just how bad meconium aspiration syndrome could be,” said Nikki. “It was no doubt the most difficult time in our lives.
“Every day he was in hospital felt like a week. But the staff were excellent, helping to cheer us up by styling Robbie’s hair and dressing him up on Christmas Day.
“We can never put into words how grateful we are, but this is to give them something in return for all of their support. The staff have saved our son and we hope raising some money will help them care and support other families in the future.
“Every cuddle we get, every single breath that Robbie takes will never ever be taken for granted.”