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Community / Family to fundraise as a ‘thank you’ after newborn’s health scare

The Macgregors, from left to right: Shaun, Logan and Joy. Photo: Shetland News

A SHETLAND couple whose lives turned upside down on Christmas Day last year when their newborn baby stopped breathing are fundraising for two Edinburgh-based organisations which supported them in their time of need.

Brave mum Joy Macgregor had to perform CPR on her own child for a number of minutes and managed to get him breathing again before paramedics arrived at their home.

But with baby Logan – who was only around three weeks old – flown by air ambulance to Edinburgh on a ventilator, a “perfect storm” of issues meant that Joy and her partner Shaun were not able to see their son in intensive care for two days.

Thankfully, Logan – whose breathing problems stemmed from catching the respiratory virus RSV – made a full recovery and is meeting all developmental targets.

The Macgregors are now looking to say thank you to Edinburgh’s Royal Hospital for Children and Young People and also the Ronald McDonald House charity, which provides accommodation for families nearby.

They are holding a fundraising Sunday teas at the Brae Hall on 12 November between 2pm and 5pm, with an array of raffle prizes also on offer including return trips from NorthLink and Loganair.

Other fundraising has also been taking place, with Joy’s mum’s partner for example running 100km in October.

“No amount of thank yous will ever be enough for what they did, but it’s just a little way to say thanks,” Joy said.

A few days before Christmas Logan started presenting cold-like symptoms, and the couple, who live in Brae and have two older children, got him checked out in hospital in Lerwick after noticing a change in his breathing.

They were told there was no medical reason to admit him to hospital at that point, and were advised to keep an eye on him.

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The next day the couple contacted a GP, who was surprised Logan was not admitted to hospital but did not notice a big decline in his health.

The couple thought Logan was starting to improve, but things took a drastic turn for the worse at around 1am on Christmas Day.

“His skin colour wasn’t good, and he was really floppy,” Joy said.

With the 32-year-old still recovering from a caesarean the couple arranged for a lift to hospital.

But their baby boy then stopped breathing – and Joy, who previously worked as a nurse before changing career, was faced with something no parent would ever want to deal with.

The ambulance was called, and in the meantime the adrenaline kicked in and Joy, showing incredible bravery and with the other two children upstairs, tried CPR.

“I’d already started CPR when I was on the phone to the 999 operator, but she helped to reiterate more and try to keep you focus on what you were doing,” Joy said.

“I just remember her voice being that calm in the storm.”

It was a success, and Joy managed to bring Logan’s breathing back.

“I know it wasn’t probably the textbook CPR, but thank god something worked,” she said.

An ambulance took around 16 minutes to get from Lerwick to Brae – “for Shetland that’s really quick, but in the grand scheme of things it didn’t feel quick…it felt like hours” – and Logan was then taken to hospital.

“Thank god we got him back, but obviously he wasn’t out of the woods and stuff. He needed to get to hospital,” Joy said.

“When the ambulance arrived and I became more aware of my surroundings, everybody was here – my mum and partner was here, my brothers were here, Shaun’s brother in law was here.”

Logan was cared for at the Gilbert Bain Hospital in Lerwick whilst preparations were made for an air ambulance to take him to a specialist facility on the Scottish mainland.

With a neonatal team heading north on the flight alongside a ventilator, the couple were told the devastating news that neither of them was able to accompany their stricken child.

“They said it was overweighted and there wasn’t enough room,” Shaun, 33, said.

“We were just heartbroken that we couldn’t go,” Joy added.

The couple were then faced with having to go home to their two children and put on a brave face on what was Christmas Day.

“The last time he’d been in the house, we had to do CPR with him, and coming home without home – even though we knew he was safe and he was with the right people…coming home without him kind of felt like the worst had happened,” Joy said.

The pair were due to fly with Loganair to Edinburgh on Boxing Day, but it was cancelled due to the weather.

And with the Boxing Day NorthLink sailing south delayed, the pair took an early flight to Aberdeen on 27 December and got a taxi to Edinburgh.

“It was a perfect storm so to speak, everything kind of felt like it was against you,” Joy added.

In that taxi, despite the driver doing his best to keep the pair engaged, “every mile felt like an hour”.

Staff in the Edinburgh hospital were keeping in touch with the Macgregors, including sending photos and videos.

But obviously on a ventilator and in intensive care, “he didn’t look like the baby that we knew him to be”, Joy said.

Logan was still on a ventilator when they arrived in Edinburgh, but as a result they could not embrace him until a couple of days later when he was well enough to come off.

“It was just an undescribable feeling, just being able to hold him and cuddle him again,” Joy said. “You kind of feel almost like a parent again.”

The couple and Logan did not get home to Shetland until 6 January.

It was not until later that they were advised that health workers initially did not know what Logan’s outcome would be.

It goes without saying that the incident has proved incredibly difficult to deal with, but there has been help to work through the feelings.

“It’s hard to put into words and articulate sometimes, because you don’t want to sound not grateful with the outcome we’ve got when so many people have gone through the worst,” Joy said.

“But it’s still hard to think about.”

Ten months later, and Logan is a bundle of energy and full of life when Shetland News makes a visit to the Macgregor household.

Joy also said she wanted to reiterate to other parents to trust their gut instinct when it comes to their child’s health.

The couple, though, said that NHS staff, in Shetland and Edinburgh, went above and beyond to help during the emergency and afterwards too.

Shaun said knowing that there was accommodation available in Edinburgh close to the hospital was a “worry off your shoulders”.

“The support from beginning to end [was brilliant],” Joy added. “As rubbish as the situation was, and as much you wish you were never in a situation like that, you couldn’t have asked for better people around you.”

Anyone wishing to donate online to the charities can do so here for Ronald McDonald House or here for the Edinburgh Children’s Hospital.

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