‘Miracle’ baby born weighing just 1lb fights back from the brink of death

A 'miracle' baby born weighing just 1lb fought back from the brink of death.

Courtney Smith, 21, gave birth at 23 weeks after going to the toilet and feeling little Charlie's head.

Charlie was born within an hour – with his eyes still fused together and his lungs only half developed.

Arriving on February 4 – three months before his due date – he weighed a tiny 1lb 8oz and doctors gave him just a 20 per cent chance of survival.

Now he’s home in Lanarkshire, Scotland, and doing well at seven-and-a-half months old –  with parents Courtney and Jack McCluskey, 22, describing him as “a miracle”.

As part a new BBC Scotland documentary, Tiny Lives, Courtney, who works in customer relations, remembers when she suddenly realised something wasn’t right at 23 weeks pregnant.

She told the Daily Record: “I was in the house and started feeling a pain and cramps. But it was so early on, I didn’t think it would have been labour.

“I went to see if I needed the toilet and felt his head there. I started hysterically crying and ran to Jack and told him – and his dad took me straight up to hospital in the car.”

Courtney gave birth within an hour of arriving at the hospital. But a doctor warned her the baby had just a 20 per cent chance of survival.

The mum said: “I remember holding him for 30 seconds. He was in bubble wrap because his skin was so raw and delicate. Then they took him away and got him hooked up to monitors.

“The first two weeks were a blur to me and Jack.

“I remember looking at Charlie and blaming myself, automatically thinking, ‘What is it that I’ve done to make it happen?’ But it’s just one of those things.

“I felt so upset, I just kept thinking I couldn’t see this wee baby surviving.

“He looked like a wee foetus and his eyelids were fused together. His fingers and toes were so tiny but perfect and his skin was quite red.

“We were told his lungs were really underdeveloped. That was the main problem at the start.

“His tiny brain wasn’t fully developed and was at risk of bleeding, and there was a chance he would suffer disabilities.”

Courtney added: “When you think of a premature baby, you think of a month early – you never think you’d have a baby so early.

“I never thought I would. I always thought about how big he’d be.

“Nothing prepares you for it.”

It was a roller-coaster journey for Courtney and warehouse operator Jack.

Charlie suffered health setbacks and had various operations, including for a hernia and laser eye surgery.

When he was just days old, Charlie suffered an infection and doctors feared he might only have hours to live.

Courtney recalled: “They said if he doesn’t turn around in the next 12 hours, there’s a serious chance of death.”

While their son pulled through, the couple sadly saw some other babies who didn’t make it.

Courtney admits she had doubts whether Charlie would survive – but she tried to have hope.

Not having experienced a usual pregnancy meant watching her son develop outside the womb.

She said: “I missed out on him kicking – but then I got to see his eyes open.

“And I got to see him growing, although he should have been doing that in my belly.”

The couple were finally told they could take their son home in June – a week after they got the keys to their first house.

Charlie was brought home still on oxygen.

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