‘Miracle’ baby celebrates birthday milestone

Joseph Bulmer

Baby born three-and-a-half months early is one today

THE family of a baby boy born 15 weeks early is celebrating his first birthday today (Wednesday).

Vincent Barrow tipped the scales at just 1lb 12oz when he was born at only 25 weeks and five days on January 12 last year.

Despite his turbulent start to life, the “little miracle” defied the odds of survival and will be blowing out the candles on his first birthday cake – albeit with the help of proud parents Rob and Rebecca and two-and-a-half-year-old sister Minnie.

It’s a happy occasion that the Barnstaple family dared not even imagine when Vincent began the first few hours of his precious young life on a ventilator at North Devon District Hospital.

Following his premature birth, he needed medication to close an open heart duct, as well as three lumbar punctures, five blood transfusions, and operations to treat complications associated with a severe brain bleed and a perforated stomach.

“All we could do was pray for him,” said Rob, 28, a director of family-run Barnstaple firm Barrow Clark Furnishers.

“We experienced unbelievable highs one minute and were on the floor crying the next; every day we went from euphoria to despair and back again but we were so blessed with the support of the medical staff, our family and friends.”

In April, the Gazette reported how Vincent underwent three months of operations in six different hospitals around the South West before being allowed home for the first time on Easter Sunday.

There was more heartache to follow later that month when he was rushed back to hospital with a prolapsed stoma; and there were further complications in May when he developed a hernia requiring yet another operation.

But happily, nine months later, Vincent, whose “corrected age” is only eight-and-a-half-months, continues to astound medical staff with his progress. Now 15lb, he is the same weight as his sister Minnie was at a year old and is developing as quickly any other bouncing baby boy.

“Vincent’s a dream baby,” said Rebecca, 27, a self-employed music teacher.

“He’s so cuddly and happy, has a huge appetite and generally sleeps through from eight to six. He’s very easy-going, very content and loves playing with his sister – he’s just a joy.

“Every day, I look at Vincent and Minnie and know we are blessed. It’s put everything in perspective for us and we don’t take anything for granted; it’s given me a lot more tolerance for getting up in the night to feed!”

The couple, both Christians, believe their faith in God has carried their family through the ordeal.

“Although we know that medically there is still a lot of uncertainty because of his premature birth, God spoke to us and said he would not disappoint us and we believe that Vincent is healed by faith,” said Rob.

“He is still under regular review and while we still don’t really know whether he will be able to do all the things a normal child can do, the consultants are pleased with his progress – his sight, hearing and mobility are all positive and healthy.

“His brain bleed was huge and the consultants said they expected to see a lot of damage but the MRI scans have not picked up any major problems.

“It’s been a rollercoaster start to his life but he’s not suffering for it now; if anything, he’s stronger now for what he’s been through.”

The family is planning to celebrate Vincent’s first birthday with family and friends at Grosvenor Church on Sunday.

“There are so many people involved that we’d like to thank, including God, the medical teams, consultants, physiotherapists and local health visitors, as well as family, friends and members of the church,” said Rob.