Miracle baby is born against the odds

BABY Ashtyn Cole is beating the odds today after being born weighing just two pounds - following a dramatic emergency 80 mile helicopter airlift to a hospital.

BABY Ashtyn Cole is beating the odds today after being born weighing just two pounds - following a dramatic emergency 80 mile helicopter airlift to a hospital.

His mum Leah Thompson, 17, from St Edmunds Road, Stowmarket, today wants to thank the medics and crewman from RAF Wattisham who came to her rescue when she went into labour 14 weeks early.

As previously revealed in The Evening Star, Miss Thompson was taken from the West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds on an RAF medical emergency flight to Kent after she developed serious complications when she went into labour.

The Sea King crew of four, from Wattisham Airfield near Needham Market, were asked for help by midwives.

Miss Thompson, a former Great Cornard Upper School pupil in Sudbury, said: “I started getting back pain and my mother tried ringing the midwives but got no answer at that time so she took me into the West Suffolk Hospital who examined me.

“They found that I was going into labour, but I believe that they do not take 26 week old babies, only 28 week old ones, so they rang round and the only place that could take me was at Kent.

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“They did not want to risk me going by ambulance such a long way so they took me by air.”

Hospital staff then managed to postpone the baby being born until 3.40pm on Friday, when they spent 20 minutes trying to resuscitate him before taking him into the intensive care unit and in to an incubator.

Miss Thompson and her and her 19-year-old partner Ricky Cole, from Rougham, have been informed that he is getting on really well and was yesterday due to come off the ventilator and start breathing by himself.

Miss Thompson said: “He looks so beautiful, he is gorgeous, so tiny with a head the size of a tennis ball and really long arms and long legs, he is really cute.

“I was worried, but also excited, this was my first time on a helicopter, and the crew made me comfortable and even gave me night vision goggles so I could see what was going on outside the window.

“Everyone was lovely and did all they could for me. Little Ashtyn is stable and will stay there for at least four weeks, before hopefully he can be transferred closer to home.”

Flt Lt Gareth Dore, co-pilot on the flight, said: “The crew are delighted to hear that baby Ashtyn is getting on well.

“A lot of us our parents ourselves, I myself have had two babies with complications, so it is nice to be able to help someone else out.”

Miss Thompson, who was 26 weeks pregnant, was being cared for at Bury, which did not have the right level of highly specialist neonatal unit to deal with the emergency. The nearest hospital which had appropriate beds available to suit her specific needs was the William Harvey Hospital at Ashford in Kent, about 80 miles away.

Nurses consulted with the ambulance service and it was decided that an airlift was the best way of transferring her and the RAF crew landed at about 6am on Tuesday last week to pick up the girl and her medical team.

n. Do you want to say a big thank you to someone? Contact The Evening Star news desk on 01473 324788 or email starnews@eveningstar.co.uk

TIMELINE PANEL

n. Tuesday October 7 about 2am, 17-year-old Leah Thompson from St Edmunds Road in Stowmarket, starts going into labour.

n. Leah is driven by her mother to the West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds arriving just after 3am.

n. Staff assess Leah and decide she needs to be transferred to a hospital better equipped to deal with such a premature baby.

n. The Sea King helicopter from Wattisham Airfield lands next to the hospital at around 6am and collects her and two health professionals.

n. By 6.50am, the young mother-to-be arrives at the specialist William Harvey Hospital in Kent and taken straight to the delivery ward where she stays for two days as staff keep the baby from being born for as long as possible.

n. Friday at 3.40pm baby Ashtyn is born weighing just 2lbs.