Health

The miracle baby, born weighing just 1lb, who has beaten the odds to mark first birthday


A miracle baby has beaten all the odds to celebrate his first birthday after he was born 16 weeks early – weighing the same as a loaf of bread.

Arley-James Hughes was so small he had to be kept in a sandwich bag which mimicked mum Naomi Walker’s womb.

The tiny tot – who weighed just 1lb (500g) at birth – spent 153 days in hospital as he battled a rare heart condition.

And doctors were so worried about him that they told Naomi, 35, and her partner Chris Hughes, 34, to make funeral plans.

But after doctors gave him a lifesaving trial drug, his health finally improved and he was allowed home after more than five months in July.

The smiley youngster is still on oxygen but is growing stronger by the day.

And he celebrated his first birthday surrounded by his loving family in Morecambe, on Tuesday (Feb 20).

Relieved Naomi said: “Arley has survived everything that’s been thrown at him, he’s a miracle.

“I count my blessing every day. I know he’s got a long way to go. He still needs support with breathing at the minute, but I’m just amazed at his incredible strength.

“For someone who weighed 500g to put up the fight he has and to be so happy and smiley throughout it all, there are no words to describe how proud and amazed I am.

Naomi’s pregnancy had been fairly straightforward until she was admitted to the Royal Lancaster Infirmary last February with a urine condition and a chest infection.

And while in the hospital, she suddenly realised that Arley-James had decided to make a very early entrance into the world months earlier than anticipated.

Naomi said: “I was in hospital at the time. It was actually when I was on the toilet I felt a pressure dropdown.

“It was very scary. I knew instantly, right at that moment, Jesus he’s coming.”

Naomi remembered clutching Arley-James for a few brief minutes when he arrived on February 20 last year.

She added: “I gave Arley a little cuddle and he made a purring sound that I’ll never forget but then he went straight into intensive care where he spent five-and-a-half months.”

Naomi said Arley-James was given blood transfusions soon after his birth and was put on a ventilator while on an intensive care ward.

But just when he seemed to have turned a corner, he was diagnosed with the rare heart condition fungal endocarditis after four weeks.

Doctors told Naomi to prepare for the worst after informing her he had the life-threatening condition, which has a mortality rate of up to 75 percent.

But remarkably, after she agreed to let Arley-James have a trial drug, his health improved over the next few weeks.

And Naomi, who never left him during his time in the hospital, believes the sound of her voice and touch may have kept him going through his most difficult of days.

She said: “They came in and said there was nothing more that we can do for him. Basically, make funeral arrangements.

“It just floored me. I just ran out of the neonatal unit. It was possibly the worst news of my life.

“And then another consultant came in and said, ‘We have got this drug. It’s still pretty much in the trial process, do you want to try it?’

“I said, ‘What have I got to lose?’ You’re telling me I need to make funeral arrangements or we can try a drug that possibly might save his life.

“Give it to him now, get it in him.'”

She added: “I didn’t leave his side for his whole journey, and the nurses said I’d given him support. He was in containment hall, and you put your hand on his head and another one on his chest and it really helps him.”

Naomi said she was amazed to finally bring Arley-James home on July 23 last year and said the bouncing lad had spent his birthday on Tuesday eating cupcakes.

She said: “He filled himself up with cupcakes. We took him home, had a nice tea, and we went out for a meal yesterday and sang happy birthday to him. He’s just the most loving happy baby anyone could meet.

“All the nurses absolutely adore him because he’s just so smiley even when he’s been really poorly, he’s been full of smiles.

“He’s used to having things wrong that it doesn’t affect him like it would a normal baby. He doesn’t let you see it.”



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