A baby boy who was born just after the abortion limit of 24 weeks is now home, with his parents saying they are “just so proud of him”.
Aiden McLaughlin weighed under 1.5lbs when he was born on 16 July 2012, at 24 weeks and three days.
His mother, Kelly, had been rushed to hospital days earlier with bleeding, but doctors reassured her that the baby was safe.
Later doctors told Kelly and her husband Sean that “the baby would be out in 24 hours”, but that he “might not make it through”.
“They had to give him oxygen to try and make him breathe.
“Three minutes into doing it we heard a little cry.”
“It was just overwhelming as everything had been quiet up until that point”, Sean said.
Aiden then spent months in Middlesbrough’s James Cook University Hospital, and was later diagnosed with bronchitis.
At that point doctors told the couple they should prepare “for the worst”, and might have to decide whether to keep a life-sustaining machine switched on.
But the parents said they thought, “‘it’s a life and we’re in it for the long term'”.
Aiden responded well to treatment and was released from hospital in July last year.
His mum said: “To look at him you wouldn’t know the problems he has had.
“You would think he was a ‘normal’ 18-month-old.
“He’s crawling and he can hold himself up on his feet.
“He’ll say ‘mum’ and ‘dad’. We are just so proud of him.”
They are now raising money for the baby hospice in Middlesbrough which helped their son.
In England, Scotland and Wales, abortion is allowed during the first 24 weeks of pregnancy.
Mark Bhagwandin, from the charity Life, said that the law does not take into account new technology that can help a baby survive.
He said: “It says something about our society when one hospital is trying to save the life of a 24-week-old baby and in another they are trying to end it.”