Family’s joy as ‘miracle’ baby returns

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A MIRACLE baby who was kept alive by his father after he was born with a rare defect has finally come home.

Little James Connell and twin sister Kathryn took parents Andrew and Victoria by surprise by arriving three months prematurely.

James had a serious condition which meant his throat was closed and not properly connected to his stomach.

To make matters worse the twins were born without medical aid in a caravan on a holiday park in Edinburgh so quick-thinking dad Andrew had to give his son the kiss of life until the ambulance arrived.

Now, after four months in hospital, James has been able to go home to Seaton Avenue, St Annes.

Proud dad Andrew, 33, said: “James is a little miracle and it’s nice to have the whole family back in one place.

“It’s such a relief.”

James and Kathryn weighed just two pounds each when they arrived in the world in June.

Andrew explained: “We had gone to the holiday park to celebrate our daughter’s sixth birthday, the drive had taken about four hours so when Victoria complained of back pains she put it down to that.

“But the next day she went into labour, I couldn’t believe it, I just remember my eldest daughter Bethany running towards me shouting her mum was giving birth.

“When I reached the caravan she had already given birth to Kathryn and five minutes later James came along. Unlike Kathryn he wasn’t crying.

“An ambulance was on its way and a paramedic was guiding me through the labour, but when I told him James couldn’t breathe he advised me to administer CPR, I basically had to breathe for him.

“That is when Victoria really started to panic, she was screaming so loudly I had to tell her to quieten down because I couldn’t hear the man on the phone.”

The newborns were rushed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

James spent the first 127 days of his life in neonatal units in Manchester Children’s Hospital and later in Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

He received further treatment for esophageal atresia, which meant his oesophagus was not connected to his stomach.

Describing the situation as terrifying, mum Victoria, 34, said she was incredibly scared.

She added: “All I can remember of the birth is the man on the phone asking what the caravan’s postcode was, I had no idea.

“But once we got to the hospital I felt a lot calmer, I knew we were in a place where my children could be cared for.

“Although James was treated immediately we had to wait months for his second operation because he was so premature.

“But he received excellent care from staff at all three hospitals, I couldn’t have asked for more.”

Andrew and Victoria, who own Fylde Properties estate agents, were today all smiles as their family was together again at last.

Andrew said: “He will grow up with the defect, but he will know what he can eat and will have to chew his food longer than other people.

“We are just so grateful for the kindness of the staff at the caravan park, the emergency services and doctors at all three hospitals.

“Everyone has been so kind, staff at Blackpool Victoria really showed concern for James, they wanted to know how he was for their own interest, it was lovely.”

The family has now bought the caravan in which James was born.

Andrew, originally from Scotland, added: “We decided to buy the caravan because we needed somewhere to stay while James was in hospital and the place holds a lot of memories.

“I used to go as a child and enjoy taking my children there so now we can go up whenever we want, I am sure James and Kathryn will be interested to find out the drama that took place on the site.”

Dr Peter Curtis, Consultant Paediatrician and Clinical Director for Child Health, said: “James had a rare condition affecting his gullet which required him to stay in Blackpool Victoria Hospital for three months.

“It was a pleasure to look after both him and his twin sister while they were here on the Children’s Unit and it’s great to hear that James has recovered well from his surgery.

“We wish both him and his family all the best for the future.”