A Padiham couple whose baby son was born nine weeks premature have told of their joy as he prepares to celebrate his first birthday – a day they thought he may never see.
Christina Howorth (21) called baby Oakley “a little miracle” and now, along with her partner Bryn Tomlinson (26), she plans to raise money for the neonatal intensive care unit at Burnley General Hospital which she said saved her baby’s life.
Christina was rushed into hospital with pre-eclampsia at 31 weeks and her condition was so severe doctors said they would have to deliver the baby early to save her life.
Oakley was born by emergency Caesarean section on October 19th last year. Weighing just 3lb. 7oz. but, incredibly, able to breathe on his own, Oakley was taken to the neo-natal intensive care unit. Just days after he was born he suffered a collapsed lung and had to be resuscitated.
But he fought back, gradually getting stronger, and was allowed home three-and-a-half-weeks later, almost a month before his official due date of December 16th.
Christina said: “The doctors expected him to have learning difficulties because he was early but he’s had his eight-month check and he’s fine. He’s trying to walk already which is incredible given that he’s really only supposed to be eight months old.
“They were absolutely fantastic on NICU and they definitely saved his life. Now I want to give something back.”
Christina and Bryn will use their son’s first birthday party next month to raise funds for the unit and hope to raise enough money to buy vital equipment.
“When he got really poorly we didn’t know whether we’d be leaving hospital without him and at one stage Bryn didn’t know if he’d be leaving hospital without both of us. But now Oakley’s doing things you wouldn’t expect at such a young age.
“He’s such a little character, he just makes us giggle.”
The couple are looking for businesses to donate raffle prizes for the party and will donate all the proceeds, along with money from collection buckets, to the unit.
Christina can be contacted on 07742154368.