By Dan Santy 17/05 Updated: 24/05 10:45
FOR battling baby Charlie Collins it was a fight for life from the moment he entered the world.
The Rugby infant - born nine weeks premature on November 23 last year - had to be placed straight into into an incubator in intensive care.
There, he was hooked up to a ventilator which breathed for him for the next 28 days.
Mum and dad, Lucy and Paul Collins, kept a vigil by his bedside as they were left facing the possibility each day could be their tiny son's last.
But, thankfully, he pulled through - surviving a heart attack and bleeding on his lungs - and was well enough to go home 12 weeks later.
Five months on, proud parents Lucy and Paul have thanked the neonatal team at Coventry's University Hospital for saving their son's life.
Mum Lucy, a 29-year-old wedding organiser, said: "For Charlie to be born nine weeks early and to be so poorly while I was recovering was traumatic, but this was just the beginning for us.
"Every day for 12 weeks we kept a bedside vigil, willing him to get better. There are babies who were being cared for in the same room as Charlie, who were so poorly they didn’t survive. I felt desperately sorry for their parents and their loss really enforced just how close our baby was to the line between life and death."
Charlie's premature arrival was caused by a condition Lucy suffered during her pregnancy, called hyperemesis gravidarum, which left her suffering extreme sickness.
Then, on November 22, the day before Charlie was born, she was diagnosed with a dangerous pregnancy complication - forcing surgeons to perform an emergency Caesarean section to save both mother and son.
Dad Paul, a 26-year-old cavity wall insulator, said: "When your baby is born so prematurely you are not sure whether you dare celebrate the birth. We were told on numerous occasions that Charlie may not survive.
"Lucy and I felt numb as we were torn between celebrating our new baby and grieving for his possible loss and the traumatic situation.
"There were times when I thought the day would never come when we could take him home like all the other mums and dads do. We feel blessed to have Charlie and cannot thank the neonatal unit team enough."
Although now back at home, Charlie is still on the road to recovery. He will require oxygen and medication for some time and will have to be taken to hospital for regular check-ups.
Prakash Satodia, consultant neonatologist at University Hospital, said it was 'very unusual' for a baby to be born after just 30 weeks.
She added: "We are over the moon Charlie improved and was able to go home. We wish him and his family the very best for the future."
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