Baby Honey makes sure it's 7th time lucky
IT was seventh time lucky for the Cummings family. After their first six children spent their early days in the special care unit the latest addition was able to come straight home from hospital.
Mum Emma Cummings still cannot believe that her newborn baby is at home with her.
Honey's six brothers and sisters all suffered with a potentially life-threatening condition called respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) when they were born, which prevented them from breathing properly. Molly, ten; Evie, eight; Alfie, seven; Finley, five; Loui, three; and Charlie, 21 months, all had to spend between five and eight days in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Southmead Hospital undergoing treatment for the condition.
When Mrs Cummings, 34, went into hospital for her planned Caesarean with Honey she took extra clothes because she had been expecting a long stay in the hospital.
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Mrs Cummings and husband Craig, 36, found out she was expecting Honey about 12 weeks into the pregnancy.
"We weren't ever going to just have the average 2.4 children and always said we wanted a large family but we hadn't planned another baby," Mrs Cummings, of Shirehampton said.
"But she is the icing on the cake. They were all desperate for a sister."
Honey weighed 5lb 8oz when she was born on May 14. There were initial signs of RDS but after being checked over she was found to be fine and after 24 hours in transitional care mum and baby were allowed home.
"We went in with suitcases full of stuff, prepared for the long-run but we were home within 48 hours, which was fantastic.
"We had always asked whether the RDS was a hereditary condition but they kept saying to us that there was nothing genetic and it was just bad luck that they needed help.
"The only thing they did differently this time for Honey was to give steroid injections in the run up to her birth just in case to mature her lungs. It leaves you with the question of whether that was enough to avoid NICU, or did she just manage on her own? It is something we will never know the answer to.
"I am so grateful and so on top of the world with the fact that she did avoid it. She is the first of our babies that came to the ward with me. I have always had to go to the ward without my baby."
When Mrs Cummings and Honey left hospital they surprised her siblings by not telling them they would be coming home.
"The older ones know that normally I have gone into hospital and been there for over a week and I think they were expecting that this time so when they came home from school we surprised them.
"In NICU they could only see their siblings through the incubator, this time they were able to come onto the ward and cuddle her.
"My husband said the other day, 'we have never had a three-day-old baby at home before. It is a brand new experience for us, on our seventh.
"We want to thank Southmead for their time and care because they have given us seven healthy children."
The family had their home extended to make space for all their children but credit routine and the support of their family with helping to raise their seven children.