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Thursday, 31 July 2014

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Miracle Barrow baby born 12 weeks early now home with family

BLUE baby cards line the window sill and bunches of flowers are arranged in vases around the fireplace of a home on Walney.

It’s the welcome home for Walney baby Toby-Jai Duff his proud parents, Stuart and Kathryn, have waited seven weeks for.

He was born on December 6 weighing 2lbs 14oz but isn’t due until February 22.

Mrs Duff went into spontaneous labour just a week after a scan confirmed the pregnancy was going well.

“I didn’t have any kind of warnings,” said the self-employed nail technician, who had clients booked in until Christmas.

Toby had other ideas. Mrs Duff said: “Right after giving birth I was texting and ringing all my clients. They were all very understanding but I was looking forward to having a busy Christmas.”

Mrs Duff has certainly been busy. The 31-year-old is only half kidding when she says she deserves a cape.

The couple have two daughters; Katy-Louise, nine, Kodie-Mae, five, and Charlie the dog, so their time has been split between their home in North Scale, Walney, and Barrow, Preston and Lancaster hospitals.

While her parents were at Toby’s bedside, Katy-Louise stepped in to help Kodie-Mae – who was also born premature – get ready for school.

“We forget she’s only nine,” said Mrs Duff.

“We’re so proud of Katy-Louise for helping us.”

Kodie-Mae was born at 26 weeks, weighing 2lbs 3.5oz.

Toby was just a fortnight later in his development, arriving at 28 weeks, but Mrs Duff says the difference has been notable.

“Having him inside me for two weeks longer, he looked like a baby when he was born. He was bigger and his lungs had formed,” she said.

“With Kodie-Mae I took a step back when I saw her.

“I had a Caesarean section and had to stay in Barrow for five days but my baby was in Preston. Stuart had seen her and I gave my mum permission to see her and they said she was really big and doing well. I went after three days and she was as big as my hand.”

She was so tiny Mr Duff’s wedding ring would fit around the top of her arm.

“They said, don’t get your hopes up,” recalls Mr Duff, of the daughter who now loves ballet and horse riding with her sister.

Mr Duff, an ROV (remotely operated underwater vehicle) pilot, says it is alarming seeing your child attached to drips, monitors and oxygen tubes. But having experienced it once before the couple placed all their trust in the nursing staff when Toby was born and were also able to reassure other parents that their babies were in safe hands.

“The only thing that’s different is Special Care (at Furness General Hospital) is in the new unit now which is a lot smaller than the old Special Care Baby Unit but the staff are still brilliant.

“They were really good to us. They always have been,” said Mrs Duff, who has been so impressed with the care she received she is now considering a new career.

“I want to go back to uni to do neonatal nursing,” she said.

But for now the focus is firmly on family life.

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