LIKE any other child his age, little Cameron Bainbridge is looking forward to Christmas. But for the two-year-old, it promises to be an extra-special celebration.
Cameron will enjoy a fun festive period after being taken off oxygen and finally learning to breathe on his own.
The youngster was born with a collapsed lung and spent the first 10 days of his life on a ventilator.
His parents Lisa and Andrew were also told that part of their son’s left side of his brain had died. And as the part of the brain that controls movement, they were told that Cameron might not be able to walk.
He relied on a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine to help him breathe, before moving onto oxygen cylinders.
But he was able to finally abandon those earlier this year, and after completely overcoming his other health problems, including being born with a club foot, Cameron will be able to run and play unaided as much as he likes this Christmas.
Cameron, who lives with mum Lisa and dad Andrew in Hexham Avenue, Hebburn, was born at Gateshead’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital on August 22, 2011.
Lisa, 38, had longed to be a mother and was delighted when she fell pregnant after having IVF treatment. She said: “I had a very difficult pregnancy – it was terrible.
“I had blood clots at six-weeks and eight weeks and at 20 weeks and six days, my waters broke.”
Lisa suffered from pre-term premature rupture of the membranes (PPROM).
She added: “We went straight to the hospital and they thought all my waters were gone. I was kept in for five days.
“I thought I was going to lose my baby. I was absolutely devastated.”
Lisa and her partner Andrew, 53, an Asda worker, clung on to the hope that their baby would survive.
Later that week, Lisa had a scan, and doctors told her that they thought her baby had Down’s Syndrome.
Lisa said: “They asked me if I wanted to have a test done, but I know that it can be very dangerous, and since I had very little water left, I didn’t want to risk it, and I knew that I would love my baby no matter what.”
The mum-to-be had such little water that doctors were shocked that she was still pregnant, but little Cameron kept on fighting.
Then on the morning of August 22, Lisa began to feel really poorly.
She went into hospital at 9am and was hooked up to an ECG monitor – a test that measures the electrical activity of the heart.
After being told everything was fine, she went home half an hour later, but still felt ill.
The couple returned to the hospital and within half an hour, their baby was born but their troubles weren’t over.
Andrew, a dad-of-four, said: “Every time a doctor came in the room, the news got worse.
“Cameron was swept away the moment he was born and a doctor told us that he might not survive and asked us if we wanted to have him blessed by a priest.”
Lisa added: “All I’d ever seen in programmes on the telly was women giving birth and immediately being passed their baby to hold in their arms, but I didn’t have that.
“All I’d ever wanted was to be a mam. I’ve got nieces who were growing older and having babies and I was jealous. I even used to get upset when I saw women in the street pushing prams.
“Now I finally had my baby and he was taken away from me. I didn’t even get to hold him for 10 days.”
Cameron was born 11 weeks early and weighed just 2lb 11oz.
He was born with a collapsed lung and had three chest drains inserted to help him breathe.
But the tough child has overcome his adversity.
In March, aged 18 months, he took his first steps, and now, able to breathe unaided, he runs around and plays just as much as any other little boy his age.
Lisa said: “He’s been discharged from everything now except for the child development clinic, which he’ll attend until he starts school.
“He was having physio for his club foot, but he doesn’t need that any more, and he doesn’t need oxygen at all now.
“When we were weaning him off it, I still carried it around for ages, but I don’t now.”
She added: “When I first found out I was pregnant, I was just delighted. The only thing I’d ever wanted was to be a mam.
“When I was blood clotting during my pregnancy, I thought I was having a miscarriage and it was the worst feeling I could have imagined.
“I think everything that I’ve been through has made me a much stronger person. I think I can deal with more now than I would have been able to a few years ago.
“This is going to be his first Christmas off oxygen completely, and it’s amazing to see him running around so much.
“We can’t believe how strong he’s been and everything that he’s been through, and now he’s just a smiling, happy little boy who just runs everywhere.
“He’s our little miracle. I tell everyone about him.”