A BABY boy who survived for five weeks in the womb with no nutrients and was born almost two months early weighing just 2lbs and 12oz has been described a perfect miracle.
Alfie Sterritt was delivered by emergency caesarean after a split second decision by a doctor made one day after his mum Lynsey Leighton’s waters broke and a scan showed he was nearly four pounds in weight - healthy for a 34 week-old child.
But what the medical staff at Craigavon Area hospital didn’t know was that Alfie had not received any nutrients from his mum’s placenta after it stopped working five weeks earlier,
He weighed less than 3lbs when he was delivered on Monday, August 6, and his parents received only a glimpse of their second son before he was whisked straight to the Neo-Natal Unit for specialist attention.
A team of up to 17 medical staff were on standby to help with Alfie shortly after his birth and Lynsey (31) and her partner David Sterritt (30) described the heartbreaking moment they realised how tiny Alfie was and their fears he may not survive.
“I just burst into tears when they held him up and heard how small he was,” said Lynsey, who already has a seven-year-old son Kenzie with David.
“I just thought ‘How can he pull through this?’ I am not a big churchgoer but I was praying and praying that Alfie would make it ok.”
It was the next day when Lynsey, of Hillhead Drive in Banbridge, was told her baby son had survived five weeks without a working placenta that it became clear how lucky the couple had been to have their new born baby.
“The doctor told me he was so glad the scan had showed him to be a better weight than he was because if he hadn’t he would not have delivered him at that stage and he told me Alfie would’ve died.
“Alfie hadn’t been feeding for five weeks, he basically went without anything from 28 weeks. They said he is a complete miracle.”
And Alfie’s progress since has astounded medical staff who were amazed when he required no specialist tube feeds and only two days in an incubator.
“He didn’t even need any oxygen,” said David. “The nurse came to us about half an hour after he was born and told us he was a wee fighter.
“When he was born the doctor said ‘This wee fella just needs to put a wee bit of beef on him’ and that was that - the nurses even joked that Alfie was feeding so well after he was born because he knew he had to put weight on.”
Alfie spent six days in Craigavon Neo-Natal Unit, before transferring to the Special Care Baby Unit at Daisy Hill hospital.
When he arrived home last Tuesday his parents were delighted and their son Kenzie couldn’t wait to get a hold of his new baby brother.
“Kenzie had made him a wee card and was telling everyone he had a wee brother,” said Lynsey. “He’s great at helping out - but he’s nowhere to be seen when it comes to nappy-changing,” she laughed.
Alfie is now over 4lbs and doing really well, according to his mum and dad, who have expressed their sincere thanks to the staff at both Craigavon and Daisy Hill hospitals, especially Dr McCormick and the team who delivered their son.
“We can’t put into words how grateful we are for the care we got when we were there,” said Lynsey. “The staff were brilliant and we are so happy to have Alfie home now thanks to their help and expertise.”
The family have been inundated with support and good wishes from family and friends too.
“We couldn’t have done this without all our babysitters over the past few weeks - everyone that looked after Kenzie allowed us to go and be with Alfie while he was in hospital. Their help and generosity is very much appreciated.”
And the couple said they would eventually like to do a fundraiser to help others following their experience with a premature child.
For now though the focus is on little Alfie, as he continues to defy the odds.