A baby born 14 weeks premature in Dundee has beaten all the odds to survive and is now a healthy and thriving little bundle of joy.
River Lochlann Kydd came into the world at Ninewells Hospital at 26 weeks gestation on August 9 weighing only 2lb.
While very tiny, he was as well as could be expected.
However, four weeks later River took a serious turn for the worse and his parents were told to get to the hospital in a hurry.
Happily, the tot pulled through and although still in hospital he now weighs a healthy 6lb 10oz.
His parents, Barry, 37, and Gemma, 32, from Broughty Ferry, are now hoping that their first–born baby is well enough to get home in time for Christmas.
Saturday was World Prematurity Day, held on November 17 each year to raise awareness of pre–term birth and the concerns of pre–term babies and their families worldwide.
Alison Findlay, senior charge nurse at the neonatal unit at Ninewells, said that baby River “had a real fight on his hands”, adding: “He pulled through against pretty significant odds.”
River was born after his mum developed a sore back at only 26 weeks pregnant, little realising that within hours her baby boy would be born.
Barry, an audio visual engineer, said: “River is now improving all the time.
“He should have been born earlier this week – on Wednesday.
“Usually they say babies should be ready to go home when their due date comes, but we are just having to wait a little longer for River.
“If it’s Christmas that would be brilliant but, if he has to stay in hospital longer, then that’s fine too.
“We’re just taking each day at a time. He is doing great now so hopefully that will continue.”
River is one of 15 million babies born early throughout the world every year.
Barry explained that Gemma’s pregnancy went well right up until a few days before he was born.
He said: “She had been complaining of a sore back and on August 9 phoned me to say it had got really bad.
“I suggested that, to be on the safe side, she should get in touch with the hospital.
“She went in about 4pm that day and by 9pm River was born.”
Barry said that River was pretty stable most of the time but at about three to four weeks old they got a “horrible” phone call to say they should get straight to the hospital because he had taken a bad turn and was very sick.
“We went straight there,” he said. “That was a very emotional and worrying time but fortunately he pulled through and continued to grow and get stronger.”
A spokeswoman for NHS Tayside said: “The Ninewells neonatal unit is a 21–bedded facility caring for babies from within Tayside. It can care for babies born from 24 weeks to post–date gestation who require intensive care.
“Our ethos is to support parents in caring for their baby from admission to discharge.
“Babies can be discharged home on oxygen and parents are supported with learning and training in caring for their baby at home.”
About 60,000 babies annually are born prematurely in the UK.
Babies like River, who are born before 28 weeks gestation, are described as being “extremely pre–term”.
In 2013, of the 7% of births that were pre–term, almost 5% were extremely pre–term (between 24 and 27 weeks), 11% were very pre–term (between 28 and 31 weeks) and 85% were moderately so (between 32 to 36 weeks).