Fylde man who defied doctors to even survive is now a dad himself

A Fylde man who was born three months prematurely two decades ago has welcomed his first child into the world, to the joy of his mum who was told she should prepare for her baby to die.

Tuesday, 19th October 2021, 10:31 am

It’s every parent’s worst nightmare to be told by doctors your child might not survive.

After carrying them for nine months and enduring the excruciating pain of labour, the heartbreak of not being able to hold your baby and having to watch on helplessly as they are taken away to the neonatal unit is unfathomable to mums who haven’t experienced it.

This was the reality for Caron Hodgkinson, 42, of Elm Avenue, Marton, who gave birth to her third child, Blain, almost 21 years ago three months before his due date.

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Baby Gia in dad's arms

Blain, now 20, weighed a tiny 3lbs 3oz when he was born - and doctors at Blackpool Victoria Hospital prepared her for the fact she might never take him home.

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He has now become a father for the first time, and is looking forward to celebrating his life with his partner Charlotte Morrison and their new baby daughter Gia.

Caron explained how her son battled the odds to become a loving dad and “amazing brother,” with no life-limiting conditions and without any disabilities.

Blain Hodgkinson with his newborn daughter Gia, partner Charlotte Morrison and mum Caron Hodgkinson.

“When Blain was born he was so tiny, his skin was transparent, so delicate - and [they] didn’t expect him to survive,” she said.

“He’d contracted bronchiolitis, and I’d be standing next to his little incubator every day and he kept stopping breathing.

“The doctors rushed in every few minutes to him, and in the space of around half an hour he stopped breathing about eight times. They told me it was common in premature babies, because their lungs weren’t developed enough before they’re born.

“He was born on December 10, and close to Christmas I had a phone call in the middle of the night from the hospital, asking me to come in immediately to be with him because they didn’t think he was going to pull through the night.

“I remember breaking down and crying, with it being so close to Christmas and being called in the middle of the night, I expected to go in and find he’d already gone.

“I got there and his head had been shaved for them to put a shunt in to help him, right in the middle of his head. That shocked me.

“He was on his life support machine, and I was just standing next to him, waiting for my baby to die. But he didn’t, he carried on, he pulled through day by day.”

Although Blain was surviving throughout each passing day, Caron, who is also mum to Teejay, 24, Leigh, 22, Codie, 18 and Kai, 12, was handed more devastating news about his condition.

“I’d gone to hospital that night preparing for him to die. But when he pulled through the first few nights after, doctors pulled me to one side and told me Blain would be severely disabled,” she continued.

“They said he was probably going to be blind and deaf too. Every different doctor that I saw all said the same thing.

“The only emotion I felt at the time was being scared, scared I was going to lose him. When they were telling me he was going to be severely disabled, I thought well, at least he will be here. At least there’s something.

“Then around six to eight weeks later, he’d put on enough weight to be discharged. It was weeks before I could even hold him because he had so many wires coming from him.

“But when I brought him home I was in a panic frenzy, I just kept thinking about being told he was going to be disabled, so I was always thinking what’s going to be next? I couldn’t feel happy, I couldn’t get to that point.

“But when he was having his check-ups, health visitors weren’t finding any issues. No physical or mental development problems at all. They told me as he was getting older nothing was wrong with him.

“He’s my third child, so I always knew. As he was getting bigger and walking and talking as he should be, I always knew there was nothing wrong.

“We’re such a close family, and Blain is an amazing brother. I have five children and my sixth grandchild is due next week, there’s nothing better than having a big family. You’ve always got someone there for you if you need them.”

Despite the his rocky start, Blain grew up to be a healthy adult, and on September 14 he welcomed his baby daughter Gia Leigh Hodgkinson with partner Charlotte Morrison, 19.

She weighed 7lbs 2oz, and the couple were overjoyed to take her back to their Weeton home after a straightforward birth.

Blain, who currently works as a bricklayer, said: “Everything that happened when I was born hasn’t affected me through my life at all, it’s like nothing ever happened.

“I’ve just applied to join the Army, I haven’t decided exactly what I want to do there yet but there are three things I’m looking at.

“I’m hoping to either be a driver for the Royal Engineers, a bricklayer for the Army, or be in the infantry.

“When we first found out Charlotte was pregnant we were worried about telling our families because we are quite young, but everyone was so supportive of us and we were over the moon.

“Gia only wakes us up twice usually during the night, she’s happy and healthy and next week we’re getting keys to our new house, so we’re really happy.”

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