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Delight at Declan's early arrival

PUBLISHED: 05:20 01 June 2005 | UPDATED: 05:53 02 March 2010

TINY Declan Coxall came into the world weighing just 3lb 15oz and measuring 43 centimetres.

Eight and a half weeks premature, today proud parents Becky Hockley and Ian Coxall are getting ready to bring home their pride and joy, a month after he was born.

TINY Declan Coxall came into the world weighing just 3lb 15oz and measuring 43 centimetres.

Eight and a half weeks premature, today proud parents Becky Hockley and Ian Coxall are getting ready to bring home their pride and joy, a month after he was born.

Mum Becky, 24, said she had an unexplained back pain the day before Declan was born. Little did she know baby was on his way.

She added: "I had a pregnancy related rash about five days before so it could have been related to the premature birth.

"The day before I went to work as normal. That night Ian took me into hospital at about 11pm. I didn't think I was in labour."

But at 1.38am the following morning after a rapid 28-minute labour Declan made his entrance into the world.

Becky, a support worker co-ordinator with Suffolk social services, said: "I was in shock. We kept saying he is too early. He was coming too quickly."

With Becky's mum and proud Dad Ian, 32, by her side Declan was born at Ipswich Hospital.

A delighted Ian said: "He was very small. The next 48 hours were critical but he didn't have any problems. He needed no respiratory assistance."

Clearly relishing his new role as father Ian is due to take paternity leave form his job as a Royal Mail manager next week.

He added: "It has taken a while to sink in. I am very pleased to be a father. We cannot wait to get him home."

The couple, who have been together two and a half years, are hoping to take Declan back to their home in Surrey Road, Ipswich, later this week.

Both praised the work of the hospital's neo-natal unit.

Becky said: "It has been a real rollercoaster and we dealt with it day by day and though it is hard to go home without him the hospital has been fantastic.

"He was so small he fitted into the palm of Ian's hand. The guidance of the nurses has been brilliant. They have shown us how to do everything."

But poignantly, in the midst of the couple's happiness, Becky's grandmother, Doris Markwell, passed away last week aged 80.

Becky said: "We announced the birth and death on the same day in the newspaper. It was sad and although she didn't see him she did see the pictures. She was his great grandmother for four weeks."

Now weighing 5lbs Declan is making good progress.

Becky added: "He seems huge to us now. He was so small."

N Do you have a touching story like this? Have you had a premature baby? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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