Welcome to the World William Sydney Frere

William Sydney Frere
Son of Nina Aldridge and Jon Frere
Born on the 13th April 2011
At The Royal Surrey County Hospital
Weighing 7lb 10oz

or Nina and Jon, the story of how their son came into the world is intertwined with another story – that of Jon’s fight against cancer.
The couple first met at a family barbecue in 2005. Jon was a friend of Nina’s brother, and his history preceded him. “I’d heard about Jon, because, tragically, his wife had died when his children were very young. I suppose a story like that makes someone rather memorable,” says Nina. “When we finally crossed paths, it was love at first sight.”
Jon, whose elder children, Katie and Ben, are now in their twenties, and Nina decided early on in their relationship that they wanted to have children together. However, before they embarked on that particular journey, something else happened. “Very unexpectedly, in November 2008, we discovered that Jon had kidney cancer. He’d always been fit and healthy, but following a trip to the GP he had some tests, and within a few days of the cancer being discovered he was rushed into hospital – it all happened so fast.”
Jon had to have his left kidney removed. Happily, two years later he was given the all-clear, and he and Nina turned to the idea of starting a family. “When we found out about the pregnancy we were over the moon,” says Nina, “we felt extremely lucky that it had happened as quickly and easily as it did.”
Aware of Jon’s previous health issues, Nina and Jon already had a very healthy lifestyle, but they took this even further during the pregnancy. “Me being pregnant gave us the perfect opportunity to really detox, and eat well,” says Nina. “During the first trimester I was so exhausted that I was sleeping from 7pm to 7am, but throughout the second and third trimesters we were swimming several times a week after work and going for long walks at the weekends. We felt great.”
However, despite their best efforts, a further health-related problem reared its head. “At 32 weeks, one of Jon’s regular scans showed that he had a lump on his liver. He was promptly booked in for a liver resection [removal of part of the liver], which was scheduled for one week after the due date. It was a real shock, but although we were devastated at the prospect of the cancer returning, we knew that we would have to put our emotions to one side and get practical.”
“We made a pact that evening, to stay positive no matter what. We decided that the good news was that we would get to spend more time together at home with the baby during Jon’s recovery, and that we should be thankful for that.”
The couple were anxious that Jon shouldn’t miss the birth, so Nina was booked in for an induction on her due date. “I was induced on the 11th April, and William arrived on Wednesday 13th. The labour was very intense, but Jon and my midwife were so encouraging and supportive that I felt that I wasn’t really doing it alone.”
As planned, a week after William was born, Jon went into hospital for surgery. Thankfully, his recovery from the operation was speedy. “He was only in hospital for three nights,” says Nina, “though it seemed like forever at the time. But the nursing care was good, and he was up and about as soon as he was back.”
A few weeks later, Jon and Nina were back in hospital for the results of Jon’s biopsy. And this time the news was good. “To everyone’s surprise, the lump had turned out to be benign. It was simply a cyst, and therefore no follow up chemotherapy or radiotherapy was required. Jon does have chronic lymphocitic lymphoma – but that may never require treatment, and he is being closely monitored.”
For Jon, Nina and William, this means that the future looks bright. “William is a very contented little boy – so happy, and blissfully unaware of the dramas that were going on around the time of his birth. Since getting the good news about Jon we’ve set a date to get married – next June, on my 30th Birthday – and we’re very excited about that. We also plan to continue fundraising for Cancer Research UK, a charity very close to our hearts.”

Be part of our Welcome to the World feature