Heidi had a straightforward pregnancy but labour took a dramatic change when the baby’s heartbeat began to slow. She was rushed to theatre and Thomas was delivered by caesarean section.

Thomas was born very unwell and was treated in the Intensive Care ward. An MRI scan confirmed that he had severe brain damage and Cerebral Palsy. Heidi was told that Thomas would not eat by himself, sit up, smile or talk.

Eventually they were given the okay to take Thomas home, leaving them not knowing how to deal with his complex care needs or who to turn to for support. Since then Thomas has repeatedly been admitted to hospital, even more so when he developed seizures after he caught a virus.

When Thomas was two the family moved to Bristol and it was Thomas’s Paediatrician that realised the pressure that Heidi was under and referred them to Jessie May. Heidi is Thomas’s main carer, a mum to both Thomas and older sister Aimee, and works a day job too.

“Our daily routine existed but it was pretty flux because Thomas is not a good sleeper. He can’t turn himself in bed so I would be up several times in the night, leaving me exhausted,” Heidi explains.

“When we first met Janet, a Jessie May Nurse, Thomas immediately took a shine to her! Her initial monthly visits allowed me to catch up on chores and recharge my batteries,” says Heidi. “Now when Janet visits and takes sole charge of Thomas it gives me quality time that I need with Aimee and my husband. I take Aimee to dancing, swimming and athletics and it allows me time to give her my full attention.

“Thomas is now a teenager and as his needs have changed, so has the support from Jessie May. Tina helped us to make a Wishes Document should Thomas become seriously ill. Jessie May help us to make sense of the choices that are available.”

Heidi explains, “Without the respite support from Jessie May I don’t think I’d be able to cope as well as I do. It’s good to talk to those who really understand which over the years has become even more important.”