1 heart-wrenching transformation changed my life forever.

Becoming a father was a major life-changing transformation… but my journey to parenthood is no ordinary story.

Like many setting out to have children, it never goes quite like the movies. For those who have ended up on the IVF route, it couldn’t be further from what you imagined it to be. This was our path – years of treatment, hope and heartache.

Fast forward… It’s our 4th round attempt (we’ve now hit the £25,000 milestone) – the effect of two miscarriages and one failed implant was taking its toll. Now there was no excitement during the “two week wait” (the time between implantation and pregnancy test) – this time we expected failure so tried as many distractions as we could muster to get the wait “over with”. At 5am, the test was taken: I took a bleary-eyed look at the results. The stupid test seemed faulty – nothing but a smudge. No line – as expected. Failed. We went back to bed cross and disappointed.

The positive test line was a shock when we awoke!

Pregnancy was filled with anxiety: the constant fear of another loss. It was only when we knew that, even if premature, our baby would survive that we dared to believe we’d be parents. Tiny clothes were purchased, the nursery room created – all the things that prepare for a baby’s arrival and prepare the transition into parenthood. We could exhale – we were having a baby.

The day of the induction was exciting, at first. Time dragged on. But after a 40+ hour labour, on the 15th April 2019, Noah was born. It was a traumatic birth. I genuinely feared my wife would die; it rather tainted the whole new-dad experience. But on the day of discharge, I scurried through the hospital with enough baby gear that would rival a former Mothercare warehouse. We could finally bring our baby home. Everything was ready: my Daddy duties completed.

There’s one question that I’ve asked in my life that will never be as important ever again! Logic told me that small things have faster respiratory and heart rates – I was new to this daddy thing but asking questions in my line of work was normal. So, I asked anyway.

“Is his breathing okay?”

Sometimes a question can not only change your life but can save someone else’s….

My new-born baby son was about to be discharged. If we had gone home, it would have been too late. I am grateful to God every day that I asked the question,

“Is his breathing okay?”

A nurse checked and then disappeared to find someone else: they checked. Soon someone else came in and examined our son. We were told that Noah needed to be taken to the ward to be given some antibiotics. Maybe he had a bit of an infection – it didn’t sound very serious. Noah returned but the hospital wanted to keep him on the ward overnight for observation. We were transferred to a private side room so we could stay together.

At 5am, Noah went for his next dose of antibiotics. Previous doses he had been taken and returned quite quickly. Time went by but this time, there no sign of him. Eventually someone came to take us up to the ward to see him. It was not a ward: this was life support!

Hours passed. We were told Noah had sepsis and pneumonia; he was very ill, and the team had made the decision to take over his breathing as the safest option. Noah laid motionless, wires all over his body, surrounded by machines and monitors that beeped and flashed, then screens turned red and alarms sounded. As parents, we were 100% helpless and useless to do anything for our son. We sat in this alien environment, stunned and could only watch on. It was like a terrifying out-of-body-experience that transcended the very fabric of time.

By the time he was being transferred to a specialist hospital for the UK’s sickest children, we were told in no uncertain terms to prepare ourselves – our baby was dangerously ill – it was likely that he would die en route. I was angry. I’d been trying hard to reassure my wife all through this experience. And now some medic had bluntly told us not to hurry to the next hospital because our son could well be dead by the time we got there. To this day I cannot quite remember my wife’s reaction – a scream, collapse – the horror has been blotted out. But the image that has imprinted in my mind for the rest of time is the look on the specialist ambulance crews’ faces. As they were disconnecting Noah from his life support machine to the portable one that could be taken into the ambulance, I heard the lead consultant say to his colleague “You have the airway, no matter what!” The seriousness of what they were about to do was not lost on me. Noah could die right here, right now and they were getting ready to resuscitate.

Noah was taken to Leicester Royal Infirmary and remained on life support in an induced coma. Overnight we had joined a new membership – parents of critically ill children. It was not what we’d ever expected our journey to be – successful IVF treatment was meant to be the “happily ever after” – it was instead the start of every parent’s worst nightmare….

I am not going to go into the details of what happened during our stay at the Leicester Royal Infirmary. What we witnessed first-hand was both awe-inspiring and terrible: no one can forget what it is like watching babies fight for their lives. Some win, others lose. And we had front row seats.

The Leicester Royal Infirmary team were beyond utterly brilliant – and thanks to their skills, dedication, and compassion, our son Noah made a full recovery. He is now 100% healthy and at 3-years-old, is full of non-stop energy and appetite. Noah is confident, adventurous and literally nothing in life seems to faze him. He is living testament that miracles happen – but they don’t always come easy!

Imagine, if that question had not been asked. We would have been discharged home as planned. By the time we would have discovered anything was seriously wrong, it would have been too late. He would not have survived.

Noah’s condition could have been prevented: if you or someone you know is pregnant – ask for a STREP B test – this simple swab can change everything!

Fatherhood was not the journey I thought it would be – I’m guessing parenthood never is – but it’s changed my life beyond imagination. Noah’s taught me that life really is absolutely precious – and it’s far too important not to value everything you’ve got. His fearlessness and zest, his hard-fought battle to live his life, are daily reminders to me to fearlessly follow my dreams and live a life I love. It’s his mantra that forms the heart of Mapleleaf Vision:

“I help unfulfilled people who are lost or stuck at a crossroads to find their right path, so they have the courage to live a life they’ll love.”

Fatherhood changed my life forever.

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I first worked with Will whilst I was a junior member of a teaching team. I worked closely with him for around three years and he became a true mentor to me. During this time Will helped encourage me to discover my own leadership style and he mapped out what it takes to be successful. I highly recommend Will for life and career coaching.

Will is a professional, natural leader who manages to make you feel at ease. He manages to be both emphatic and encouraging, whilst also managing to challenge you to find your own answers. Will’s approach is totally non-judgmental and the sessions are really focused on you and on what you want to achieve. Working with Will has allowed me to address challenges I was facing and he brought a wealth of resources and practical tools to help me set goals, clarify my values, and explore avenues right away. Even though I left teaching 5 years ago, I still seek out Will for his help and guidance and I appreciate his versatility as a thought partner, ally, and coach. Our sessions are always productive and efficiently run, which is perfect for someone who is juggling many priorities! Will brings great communication, professionalism and quality to his work and I highly recommend him as a life/business coach.
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I am so glad I found Mapleleaf Vision! Will has been super supportive and understood exactly what I needed to help me to redirect my focus. I now have fresh enthusiasm for what lies ahead.
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Will at Mapleleaf vision fitted me in for a last minute decision-making session that I needed to make ASAP re. a job offer / career change. He was friendly, professional, and really knew his stuff! He unpicked things that I could never have done on my own. I’m so grateful to him & will be highly recommending him to everyone! Where there is a ‘Will’, there’s a way! Thank you, Will. You truly have a gift.
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