Having a baby at 24 weeks resulted in big bills alongside happiness and stress

Matthew and danielle mccormack web

Danielle McCormack received support from Bliss Scotland after giving birth to a baby that required neonatal care

3rd January 2018 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Matthew arrived at 24 weeks’ gestation at Wishaw General Hospital in August 2015. After I was discharged, we had to take two buses to reach the hospital or rely on family members for lifts.

Because Matthew was very premature, there were numerous occasions when we thought we might lose him. At the darkest times, we were called up to the hospital to say goodbye. When it was an emergency, we had to take taxis to see him. This was obviously very expensive although finances are the least of your worries when your child is sick.

Matthew was in the hospital for four and a half months, it was 138 days in total. It was the best time of our lives because we welcomed our little boy into the world, but also the most stressful.

I am self-employed and my husband had to go on sick leave whilst Matthew was unwell. This meant we only had £140 of statutory sick pay coming in per week which was soon swallowed up by the cost of food and drink at the hospital and travel expenses. We had to borrow money from my mum in order to cover our bills. If we didn’t have the support of our family, we don’t know how we would have managed. Research published by Bliss Scotland has revealed that the average weekly cost of having a baby in neonatal care is £218 across Scotland.

Matthew McCormack

Matthew McCormack

Matthew has chronic lung disease, and his lungs were the main issue from the start. He was on a ventilator for 10 weeks, but had sepsis and other infections on numerous occasions.

It doesn’t even occur to you that this could happen, you don’t even think about it when you are expecting. I went into a spontaneous labour, there was no real explanation why it happened. I just didn’t feel very well, but when I was told I was in labour it was like a tonne of bricks falling.

Bliss had representatives in the hospital every week. They would send volunteers, who were there to offer advice and support. They were great, and at times you just needed a shoulder to cry on.

Myself and my husband were lucky that we had each other, and very supportive friends and family. But there were young girls who were in the hospital by themselves.

There were benefits that we were entitled to that we would not have known about without Bliss. However more needs to be done help women in this situation financially.

When you are pregnant you think you are going to have all this time to sort things out. We weren’t ready to have to meet the costs, and they were very high. If we hadn’t been able to rely on family and friends we would have been facing an even more difficult situation.