‘OUR MIR­A­CLE’

This baby weighed just over 1lb when he was born... now he’s about to start school.

Wales On Sunday - - FRONT PAGE - WILL HAYWARD Re­porter will.hayward@waleson­line.co.uk

WHEN Chase Thomas was born at only 30 weeks he was the size of a smart phone. Weigh­ing 1.1lb, it was touch and go if he would sur­vive. This was only 10 weeks after doc­tors had rec­om­mended a ter­mi­na­tion.

“It all started at the 20-week scan, when you nor­mally get the sex of the baby,” said Chase’s dad Lee Thomas, 35.

“We went in and they told us that he wasn’t get­ting fed prop­erly.

“The prob­lem was with the um­bil­i­cal cord, that is why he wasn’t grow­ing as quickly as he should.

“It was then they rec­om­mended ter­mi­na­tion. They said that he prob­a­bly would not make it and if he did he would be se­verely dis­abled.”

De­spite these warn­ings, Lee and his fi­ancée Jo­lene could not give up on their son.

“We were given the choice,” said Lee. “We were both quite pos­i­tive peo­ple.

“We had an­other child who was nine at the time and hav­ing a dis­abled younger brother would be tough but we didn’t give up on him.”

Jo­lene and Lee, who runs his own heat­ing and plumb­ing busi­ness, did re­search on­line to look for ideas to give Chase a fight­ing chance.

He said: “We looked on the in­ter­net and there was ad­vice there like lay­ing on your side and hav­ing as­pirin, which we did. It ob­vi­ously worked be­cause he sur­vived!

“We had to have three scans a week for the rest of the preg­nancy to check he was OK. Swansea and Cardiff have dif­fer­ent equip­ment so we had to go to both of them.”

It was clear that Chase was go­ing to have to come early and the pair re­signed them­selves to the fact he would be spend­ing a lot of time in in­ten­sive care.

“He was born at 30 weeks,” said Lee. “They wanted to get him out at 26 weeks but we wanted to keep him in till 30 so he could de­velop more. When he came out they took him off us straight away to in­ten­sive care but we were pre­pared for that.

“He was in there for the first month and a half, mak­ing sure he could sur­vive.

“He wasn’t breath­ing for him­self, so a ma­chine did it for him. There are three lev­els of ven­ti­la­tor. When they moved him from the high level one onto the medium one he didn’t take to it. They tried the ba­sic one and he took to it straight away.”

After more than three months Jo­lene and Lee were able to take their son out of hos­pi­tal.

Lee said: “After 99 days he was up to 4.1lb and we were able to take him home. We had to still give him oxy­gen.”

Lee now de­scribes Chase as their “mir­a­cle” baby. Four years on he will be head­ing to school in Septem­ber and has en­ergy that would have been unimag­in­able when he was born.

Hap­pily liv­ing at their Wau­narl­wydd home near Swansea, Lee said: “Now four years on, he is a nor­mal four-year-old. He has had to have treat­ment and op­er­a­tions and has one big one still to come. He is so en­er­getic and knows where every play area is at every hos­pi­tal from here to Eng­land.

“Phys­i­cally he is small but he has so much en­ergy. Put it this way – we strug­gle with babysit­ters!”

The pair are so grate­ful for all the help they re­ceived that Lee is go­ing to try and raise £2,000 to buy equip­ment for the neona­tal ward that helped save

Chase Thomas weighed just 1.1lb when he was born at 30 weeks

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