Bonnie Babies boost for premature Orion

Orion's great-aunt Nannette Campbell, right, receives a second bundle of clothing from Bonnie Babies founder Debby Lamont.
Orion's great-aunt Nannette Campbell, right, receives a second bundle of clothing from Bonnie Babies founder Debby Lamont.

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A baby born two months prematurely with a hole in his heart, who spent the first seven months of his life in hospital, is now living snugly at his Aberdeen home wearing clothes donated by Campbeltown charity Bonnie Babies.

Orion Campbell Reid, who by coincidence has family in Kintyre, received a bundle of tiny knitted cardigans, hats and blankets after he was born at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary on July 1 last year, weighing just 3lbs 12oz.

It was only when his mum Emma Campbell Reid – whose grandparents Mary Campbell, and Audrey and Brian Gee, aunt and uncle Nannette and Kenneth Campbell, and cousins Scott and Kenneth Campbell live in Kintyre – spotted a teddy in the bundle bearing the Bonnie Babies name that the family realised where the clothing had come from.

Emma and her husband Stuart were told at their 20-week scan during Emma’s pregnancy that there was a hole in Orion’s heart as well as a very tiny valve that did not reach his lungs. They were told that unless this valve grew he could not be operated on, and were advised to consider having a late termination, but they decided to continue with the pregnancy.

Two months later medics at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) in Glasgow carrying out another scan told Emma and Stuart about a different operation which could be carried out which may save Orion’s life.

Shortly after he was born, Orion was flown to the QEUH for an esophageal atresia operation. He was placed in an incubator from July to September and it was three weeks before Emma and Stuart were able to hold their son for the first time.

Orion still faced challenges – he had to weigh 8kg before he could undergo a 12-hour operation to fully repair his heart, and although now living at home, he remains on oxygen.

Emma and Stuart were supported throughout the first months of Orion’s life by their family in Kintyre, as well as Stuart’s mum, dad and sister, and Emma’s parents Ewen and Deborah and her brother Michael who all now live in Canada.

The couple took only a few bits and pieces from the bundle of clothing they were given, choosing to donate the rest back to the hospital’s bank as stocks were running very low and some families had nothing.

Emma told the Courier: ‘Bonnie Babies is a very underrated charity, along with the others who knit for hospitals. When a premature baby is born they receive a knitted hat and blanket, and with so many wires on babies in hospital, cardigans are perfect for dressing them and keeping them warm. Many people don’t realise these are donated.’

Emma’s aunt Nannette said: ‘Emma loved the cardigans so much as they were so easy to put on and very well knitted, so I said I’d see if I could get another bundle in a bigger size as Orion had outgrown the first lot.’

Last week, Nannette met with Bonnie Babies founder Debby Lamont to receive another bundle, which Nannette then posted to Emma in Aberdeen.

Nannette said: ‘I don’t think enough people know about the charity and the good it does – so many families would be lost without them.

‘It relies solely on donations, and much of its money covers postage costs. We gave a wee donation each time Emma and Stuart received a bundle because it’s important to keep it going. It’s amazing work that it does.’

Debby told the Courier: ‘It’s always amazing to be able to help the babies in the special care baby units that Bonnie Babies supports. It’s lovely to know we are here if someone needs our help for their little ones, and to know we are helping not only babies right across the UK and abroad, but also the babies closest to home.’