Mum laughed when doctor asked her routine question

Louise Collier and her son James
Louise Collier and her son James -Credit:Louise Collier

A Liverpool mum discovered a surprising connection to a ward that would go on to save her son’s life.

Louise Collier, from Aintree, went into spontaneous labour and delivered her son, James, at just 25 weeks. The 32-year-old was given the green light just the week before at her check-up scan and was due to fly to Dubai with husband Peter for a holiday - so the birth of her first child, who weighed only 1lb 14oz, was “very much a surprise”.

James was transferred straight to the NICU ward in the Liverpool Woman’s Hospital, where he would be for the next 118 days of his life receiving lifesaving care from the nurses and doctors.

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Louise, now living in Allerton, told the ECHO: “It was a really hard time in our lives. You get into your little world with yourself where you just live and breathe the hospital. It was really difficult but it's all you know at that point in time. You want to be there as much as you can but you still need to go home to eat and sleep. It was just constant.”

Knowing the family was going to be in the ward for the next couple of months, Louise was offered a tour, but in an incredible turn of events, she didn’t need one - as she was actually one of the driving forces behind the creation of the neonatal extension at the hospital.

She worked on the project as a structural engineer with Liverpool-based firm, Sutcliffe, for several months before going on to use the very facilities she had designed.

Louise, a mum-of-one, said: “The ward is brand new and I was involved in creating it. I designed the steel frames and the foundations for the building. On my notes, it said ‘Mum built the unit’ so when the doctors came in, and asked if I wanted a tour, I laughed. It was a nice moment and they always thanked me. It made me feel more connected to the place and comfortable.”

Louise Collier with husband and dad Peter and their son James
Louise Collier with husband and dad Peter and their son James -Credit:Louise Collier

James has been off oxygen for almost a year now and is turning two tomorrow, Friday, April 19. He has physiotherapy and hydrotherapy to help bring him along as he is developmentally delayed due to how premature he was born.

As a means to give back to the ward, civil and structural engineering firm, Sutcliffe, where Louise works, is hosting its annual charity ball in a bid to raise money for the neonatal unit and the Delirium and Dementia team at Liverpool University Hospitals Charity.

Sutcliffe’s goal is to raise over £60,000, half of which will help purchase a new incubator for the neonatal unit, while the other will fund a designated area for dementia patients to give them a break from the hospital ward.

Louise added: “To deliver the best care, you need the best equipment and this is what the money raised will help with. Having an incubator where parents are able to have more room to touch their newborn will be amazing. It will really help with the early stages of bonding.”

Sutcliffe’s Just Giving pages can be found here and here.

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