Published: 12:01, 05 May 2016
When little Noah Foley was born four months early doctors gave him the faintest of chances of survival.
But the miracle baby is about to celebrate his first birthday today and his mum could not be happier with the progress her son has made.
Amy Judge was rushed into hospital just 24 weeks into her pregnancy after she started having contractions.
Her partner, Steven Foley, was at her side when she gave birth to their son at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford on May 5, 2015.
When he was born, Noah weighed just 1lb 10oz – less than the weight of a pineapple.
The Folkestone couple endured every parent’s nightmare as their child’s life hung in the balance for four months.
Noah had developed so many complications in his first few days. He could not breathe properly and had developed a chronic lung disease and severe bowel condition which meant 15cm had to be removed and a stoma fitted.
Amy said: “He was attached to a monitor with so many wires and beeps going off.
“He couldn’t breathe on his own so was ventilated with a tube down his throat.”
But after three weeks the couple were given the worst news they could have been told.
Amy, 33, said: “He was very, very poorly and the doctor said he wouldn’t be here by the end of the day. He was baptised and we wouldn’t leave the hospital but he proved them wrong.
“He’s proved them wrong many times. He’s a bit of a miracle.
“I never heard of giving birth at 24 weeks. I think the 24 weeks is the cut-off for an abortion.
“I know a lot don’t, but you can show that babies can survive being born that early.”
At five weeks, Amy was finally able to hold her child for the first time. But just another five weeks later Noah was transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit at St Thomas’ Hospital in London at 10 weeks old, after countless infections, tests, transfusions, scans and treatments.
After three days and being told by the hospital they could no longer stay there, the couple were given a room at the Ronald McDonald House, meaning they could stay in London and see their son every day.
In September – 10 days after Noah’s due date – the couple were finally given the news they had been waiting for and could finally take their son home.
Amy is now looking after him full time after leaving her job as a teaching assistant at Foxwood School in Hythe.
She said it had been “a dramatic year”.
“We can now be a proper family. That was the hard thing, having a baby but leaving him.
“He’s doing really well and shuffling along and he’s a really happy baby,” she added.
“He’s always smiling and laughing. We can’t believe it’s going to be a year.
“He has now got his hearing aid and glasses for being short-sighted. He’s only really been hearing since January.
“We’re just trying to encourage him to talk. Doctors didn’t think he’d be able to talk.”
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