“I’ll be home for Christmas” will always have a special meaning for Sussie Bea Patrick. And no doubt chocolate bars will always be her favorite candy for this preemie.
Born in June, four months early, Sussie has left the Neo Natal unit at Arrowe Par hospital in Northwest England and will celebrate her first Christmas at home with mother Jodie Marrin and her dad Lee Patrick.
When Sussie was born at 22 weeks she was so tiny doctors said she was the size of a chocolate bar. One pound, one ounce to be exact.
As is always the case with extreme preemies, the circumstances were harrowing and doctors immediately told the parents Sussie’s survival chances were “non-existent.” Medics added, if somehow she did survive, Sussie’s life would be bleak.
“They said she wouldn’t have a quality of life but we said ‘look that’s something that we will have to deal with but if she’s fighting we have to fight,” Lee Patrick told Emilia Bona of The Mirror. “And she’s here now.”
While Sussie is still on oxygen, her dad said his daughter is “perfect” and called her “his little miracle.”
There were no indications that Sussie would come early, Bona reported. Best guess is sepsis sent the “perfectly normal” pregnancy off course when either Jodie or Sussie contracted a bug.
Near midnight the night of June 27, Jodie felt so poorly they decided to go the hospital. Lee told The Mirror
She was throwing up. Within 15 minutes she was giving birth in the back of the taxi to hospital. Within about 15 minutes Sussie literally slid out.
“I grabbed her and said ‘help!’ This was in Arrowe Park in one of the triage wards,” stated Patrick. “About 10 minutes after we got to the hospital she gave birth.”
Sussie was so small no sooner had she been delivered than her folks were told to prepare themselves.
“We were told that when she came out we would have to say our goodbyes. They said she wouldn’t be breathing for long and might not look like we expected,” remembers Lee. They said they would let us be together as a family.”
She came out and gave a little whimper so they started working on her.
“We were told it wasn’t worth [treating her],” Jodie says.
But Sussie had other ideas. And over the course of the long stay, “Lee said lots of the neonatal staff and nurses at the hospital recognise Sussie, and that the family became incredibly close with the staff while she was receiving treatment.”
Having “been through the wars and back” Lee and Jodie are over the moon their little fighter is home in time for Christmas with the family that never gave up on her.
Lee will be taking part in this year’s Santa Dash along with another dad to a premature baby girl in aid of Ronald McDonald House at Arrowe Park.