Miracle baby born at 23 weeks celebrates his first birthday

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Connor Walkow who was born at only 23 weeks and had to be placed into a freezer bag to survive, has celebrated his first birthday.

His mother, Rachel Crockett, was at McDonald’s in Milton Keynes when her waters broke unexpectedly. Connor was born on October 3 last year, weighting only 1lb 2oz. Doctors at Milton Keynes Hospital almost prevented his birth after they stated that he was not viable for delivery.

However, his mother and father, Craig Walkow, from Wing demanded that he be given a chance. Connor was delivered at John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, where he remained for the first seven months of his life.

Connor’s mother said they felt relieved when John Radcliffe Hospital offered to take them, although they did not offer any promises of success.

Due to his prematurity, Connor’s organs had not fully developed and he contracted necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) which is caused by a limited blood flow to the intestine. At this stage, he was so tiny that he was placed inside a freezer bag and had to undergo the first of five operations because his bowel had perforated.

His mother stated that they were asked to say goodbye to him and would not see him again. She said they felt numb and it felt like their world had come to an end.

The medical staff were shocked that Connor managed to pull through the operation.

NEC was not the only medical condition he suffered. He also suffered from chronic lung disease, fungal meningitis, a bleed to his brain and retinopathy of prematurity, which later needed laser eye surgery.

During April, he endured an operation that lasted eight hours to repair his bowel. Once again, he beat the odds and survived. It was only after five months, three operations to his bowel, laser eye surgery and the installation of a central venous catheter that his parents were informed that they would be able to take him home one day.

Connor was taken home for the first time after spending seven-and-a-half months at John Radcliffe and an added two weeks at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Aylesbury.

His lungs continue to develop, but he is permanently on oxygen. He has, however, been able to move onto smaller canisters after having been dependent on a machine.

Connor’s condition continues to improve and his parents are confident about the pending results of an eye test.

The little boy’s miraculous recovery adds to a number of other cases where premature babies aged under 24 weeks have managed to survive, despite guidance issued by the British Association of Perinatal Medicine stating that it is ‘in the best interests of the baby, and standard practice, for resuscitation not to be carried out’.

Rachel has asked the NHS and the government to re-evaluate current procedures surrounding premature births. She believes that the cut-off point and abortion limit should be adjusted.

A Milton Keynes Hospital spokesman said that their two neonatal units care for babies born after 27 weeks. Babies born before this time or those who need specialist care, are normally transferred to a level three neonatal intensive care unit.

Image Credit: Masons

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