A baby who was born 14 weeks prematurely and weighing about the same size as a small bag of sugar has made a miraculous recovery.
Ethan Bird is winning his bitter battle to survive after he was born when his mother was just 26 weeks pregnant and weighed just 1lb 1oz.
After he was born nearly three months early via emergency Caesarean section on December 5, the newborn has been kept inside a hospital.
But he has managed to gain vital weight and strength – and miraculously survived without any physical side-effects after his premature birth.
Bouncing baby! The little boy, pictured with Sarah and her husband Scott, now weighs a much healthier 6lb 10oz
Ethan’s mother Sarah, 34, suffered pre-eclampsia which developed into life-threatening eclampsia and could have died when she gave birth.
Now, after four months of fighting to put on wight and gain strength, baby Ethan has taken a big step closer to finally going home to Filby, near Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.
Ethan, who now weighs a much healthier 6lb 10oz, has been moved out of the neo-natal intensive care unit at Norwich and Norfolk University Hospital (NNUH).
He is now being cared for in the special neo-natal unit at James Paget University Hospital (JPH) in Gorleston, near Yarmouth.
The significant step forward is a milestone for Sarah and her husband Scott, manager at Thrigby Hall wildlife gardens at Filby.
Delighted Sarah, who works at Great Yarmouth College as a trainee and assessor for apprentices, said: ‘Ethan has a real strong character.
‘He’s stubborn and strong minded and he’s certainly got a bit of that fighting spirit in him.’
She felt ill in the days before her little boy was born but showed no obvious symptoms of deadly pre-eclampsia.
But after a GP took her blood pressure was referred straight to hospital and less than 24 hours later was by ambulance to A&E, where her baby was delivered.
He was born just two weeks after the UK’s abortion limit, which is 24 weeks.
‘They told my husband they were fighting for my life too,’ said Sarah.
‘We didn’t know what we were having and when Ethan was born they told us it was a boy, held him in front of me and then rushed him away to the neo-natal unit.
‘But he was there, he was breathing – that was all we needed to see.’
At one point, doctors thought the frail baby needed an operation on his heart.
He was booked to go to London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital but a scan revealed the problem valve had healed itself as he prepared to make the emergency dash.
‘Ethan was just so tiny I felt like I was going to break him – I was almost too scared to touch him,’ said Sarah.
‘But the staff were so good, teaching me how to tube feed him and change a nappy.’
Ethan’s aunt Claire Vickers said: ‘He is quite a miracle.’