The McLeod Family

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Mother and Baby in Hospital In 2014, Eden was born in Ninewells Hospital in Dundee. His mum, Ria thought that his head didn’t ‘look right’ but was told that – because he was breech – that his head was misshapen and would heal over time.

However, Eden was a sickly baby, always crying, underweight and unable to keep food down. It wasn’t until he was 3 months old and refusing to feed that he was admitted to Ninewells Hospital again and a student doctor noticed that the ‘soft spot’ that all babies have, was not there. He was sent for an ultrasound and a CT scan. The results showed that the sutures in Eden’s skull had fused and was probably causing his sickness and potentially causing headaches which would explain why he was such an unsettled baby.

The consultant at Ninewells had said that he had never seen Eden’s condition before and they were referred to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children (now the Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow). His mum says “Eden was diagnosed with Craniosynostosis, a premature fusing of the sutures of a baby’s head. This was causing the sickness and illness and accounted for the disfigured shape of his head.”

“We were advised that if Eden did not have surgery he could potentially have significant problems later in life with his vision, speech and development. Therefore, his surgery was booked for April 2015.”

Baby with bandaged headEden had to have his whole head reconstructed – all the fused sutures were taken out and broken, reshaped and put back in so his head and brain could grow properly. He has a scar that goes from ear to ear as the surgeons had to peel back the scalp to get to the skull.”

It was a major operation and he took a long time to recover. She says “Eden couldn’t see for 3 days after the surgery because he was so swollen, he couldn’t sleep because he was in so much pain. It is so easy to forget now that he is a healthy, thriving boy but his surgery was actually a really big deal and he doesn’t even realise how brave he is.”

During their time in hospital, they were offered a room at Ronald McDonald House Glasgow. “It was such a relief … when we were told family members could come over as it meant our whole family could be together, our other son included. When you have a sick child, often the sibling bears the brunt of it, and the guilt I felt at being away from home and away from my other son on top of the nerves and uncertainty of Eden’s surgery, were not healthy.”

Above all, Ria believes that the House gave her the most precious thing of all – time.

“I firmly believe time is important in life, and by time I mean quality time, time spent with your children and loved ones – and I feel the house gives family time. It allows you to dedicate your time to your children.”

“The children in hospital set an example to us all. They show us how to behave, they take everything in their stride and keep going, and I think they deserve to have their parents by their side every step of the way.”

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