Baby’s battle for life made for a cheesy family Xmas


AN Olney mum has thanked Milton Keynes Hospital for turning her Christmas of sheer hell into a New Year of baby joy.

Amanda Gilhespy and her husband Steve faced every parent’s nightmare when their new-born baby son suddenly started fighting for his life.



Tiny Felix had been born perfectly healthy ten days previously but inexplicably stopped feeding on December 22.

Mum Amanda, who has three other children, sat up with all night and took him to the GP in the morning.

But she was sent home with Gaviscon and told the baby was suffering from reflux. Hours later Felix turned blue around the lips and was struggling to breathe.

”We raced him back to the surgery and Dr Winter checked him and rang 999. She gave him oxygen and waited for paramedics to arrive,” said 35-year-old schoolteacher Amanda.

An ambulance rushed the baby to hospital, where a team of 12 medics, headed by Dr Keya Ali, was already assembled to treat him.

The following hours became a life and death battle as the doctors struggled to stabilise Felix enough for him to be put onto a breathing machine.

“I saw doctors and nurses crying. One doctor was working so hard that he was literally covered in sweat. I hadn’t realised it was possible for people who work every day at a hospital to care so much,” said Amanda.

By late evening Felix was stable enough to be transferred to Oxford’s John Radcliffe hospital, still linked up to the breathing machine.

Here Amanda and Steve spent their most emotional Christmas ever. Felix was diagnosed with bronchiolitis, a condition extremely dangerous for newly-born babies, and his parents were allocated to Ronald McDonald house, a facility funded by the burger chain, so they could be nearby.

On Christmas morning they left Felix at 4am, dashed home to see the children open their presents, then spent the entire family back to the hospital.

“We were determined to be together,” said Amanda.,

“We ate Christmas lunch together – but it was cheese sandwiches.

Anneli, 12, Max, 10 and one-year-old Jemima were invited to join in the festive celebrations on the ward, where Santa gave them presents and even left a stocking on baby Felix’s drip stand.

“In a way it was wonderful but in other ways it was the Christmas from hell,” said Amanda.

Happily, as quickly as Felix had plummeted, he bounced back to health under the medics’ care.

On New Year’s Day he was discharged and is now fit, well and gaining weight.

Meanwhile Amanda and Steve want to say a heartfelt thanks to all the staff who cared for their son, particularly those at Milton Keynes who saved his life.

“Dr Ali and her team were outstanding – never have I seen so many people battle so hard. We were kept informed with what was going on and treated really well.” said Amanda.

“The care we received in Oxford was also faultless. We never thought Felix would recover so quickly.

“People are often quick to criticise hospitals but we are delighted. Thanks to them, the Christmas from hell has turned into the best New Year present ever.”