National award for Mansfield ‘miracle’ baby

NMAC11-0826-2'Alex Stafford with his Tommy's Champion Children award and framed certificate.
NMAC11-0826-2'Alex Stafford with his Tommy's Champion Children award and framed certificate.

A MIRACLE Mansfield baby whose life hung by a thread when he was born three months early has won a national award for defying the odds.

Doctors warned Alex Stafford’s parents their son might not survive the night when he was delivered after 28 weeks and suffering from a string of complications.

Little Alex weighed just 3lbs 6oz and had bleeding on the brain, a collapsed lung and his heart had moved into the wrong place.

But Alex has overcome this difficult start to life and is now looking forward to his third birthday and joining nursery with a top award under his belt.

Alex’s mum Kelly Flude (30) nominated him for a Champion Children Award with the Tommy’s charity, which recognises youngsters who were born prematurely and have battled to overcome adversity.

And last month Kelly and Alex’s dad Matt Stafford (28) went to an award ceremony in London to pick up the prize after their son beat competition from other children across the country.

“He is a proper little fighter and we see him as our miracle,” Matt said.

“Someone was definitely smiling on us and for him to come through everything with no lasting damage is amazing.”

Alex was born on 18th April 2008 by emergency Caesarean section in the Neonatal Unit at King’s Mill Hospital.

“The doctors and nurses said it had been a long time since they had seen such a poorly baby,” Kelly said at the family’s Balmoral Drive home last week.

With Kelly falling in and out of consciousness, much of the responsibility fell on Matt.

“I had Kelly to think about, the baby and both our families too,” he said. “I had to make out things were better than they were.

“When I first set eyes on Alex he was wrapped in a Tesco turkey bag, which they use to keep babies warm, and had wires coming out of him.

“I was pacing around outside the door and was told I had to move.”

After doctors had been resuscitating Alex for eight minutes they asked Matt what he describes as ‘the worst question of his life’ – did he want to let him go?

“It is not a question anyone wants to be asked,” Matt said. “My emotions were all over the place.

“Thankfully after 10 minutes their efforts paid off. But the doctor then came to us and said ‘prepare for the worst’ because Alex might not survive the night.”

Even after he had pulled through the first few difficult hours, Alex still faced seven days on a life support machine and a total of three months in hospital.

Almost three years later, Matt and Kelly still remember those agonising weeks.

“It was a rollercoaster, some days he had gone downhill and others he seemed better,” Kelly said.

After 12 weeks at King’s Mill, Alex was well enough to go home.

“He came home with no oxygen or feeding tube,” Matt said. “It was as if he wanted to come home and knew it was time. But even then we had been warned he might have cerebral palsy or there could be other complications.

“But none have ever arrived. It sometimes makes you feel guilty when you meet other children who were born prematurely and they have not been so lucky.”

And the traumatic experience has not put Kelly off giving birth to the couple’s second child Lydia eight months ago.

Matt and Kelly have thanked King’s Mill consultant paediatrician Dr Vibert Noble and staff on the neonatal unit for looking after Alex.

Sue Croydon, neonatal family care specialist, said: “Our trust is committed to giving the best possible care to some of the smallest and sickest babies born.

“This is a fantastic achievement for Alex. It is so rewarding to know that he is doing so well since his time on the unit.”