Welcome home, Gregory's boy

LIFE is full of miracles and no-one knows that more than former Blues star Neil Gregory.Today, he and his wife Louise are celebrating the homecoming of their second baby son, Joe.

By Jessica Nicholls

By JESSICA NICHOLLS

jessica.nicholls@eveningstar.co.uk

LIFE is full of miracles and no-one knows that more than former Blues star, Neil Gregory.

Today, he and his wife Louise are celebrating the homecoming of their second baby son, Joe.

Born nearly seven weeks early in April, both Joe and Louise's lives hung in the balance after she developed the potentially life-threatening pre-eclampsia.

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Tiny Joe weighed just 3lb 7ozs when he was born in Ipswich hospital on April 29.

But after being weighed yesterday he has now reached the grand weight of 7lbs 6ozs after spending 80 days in the special care baby unit in Ipswich Hospital.

It is not the first time Louise's life has been on the line as three years ago in August, Joe's brother Alex was born ten and a half weeks early in the same circumstances.

However according to Louise there is only a five to ten per cent chance that pre-eclampsia will strike the same person twice.

She was monitored extremely closely by the hospital throughout her pregnancy but it did not stop the pre-eclampsia reaching dangerous levels.

Louise, 30, said: "I was in and out of hospital for 14 weeks and in the end they said they could not stabilise me any more.

"I had already decided to go ahead with the birth at 34 weeks anyway, so I was just four days earlier than planned."

Little Joe was born by Caesarian section, but Louise's problems were not over after the birth and she began to haemorrhage.

Thankfully today the call centre sales manager is looking the picture of health and is thankful to see her family all together.

Because of her condition she did not see Joe for the first few days of his life.

She said: "I did not see Joe for the first four days because I was too ill.

"But because Alex had been through it I knew about it and before Joe was born I went up to the special care baby unit to see if anything had changed."

For a worried Neil, 29, it was a case of keeping a double vigil, torn between spending time at his wife's bedside and that of his new born son.

He said: "It was the worst day of my life.

"It really was life-threatening for Louise this time and I was not able to go and see Joe because the special care baby unit is on the other side of the hospital – I did some miles over there.

"I knew Joe was getting the best of care over there though."

When Alex was born, Neil was playing football on loan from Colchester United to America and only ever knew what was happening by phone.

Since Alex arrived though, he put his football to one side and now plays for Canvey Island two or three times a week enabling him to spend the rest of the time with his family.

He also played tribute to everyone who helped them throughout the last difficult weeks.

He said: "Both our families have been absolutely brilliant. Louise's mum was over every day looking after Alex so I could go to the hospital."

Ever the dutiful footballing wife though, Louise waited until two days after the end of the season before she gave birth.

Joe has come out of his ordeal largely unscathed, although there is some damage to his lungs caused by the ventilator he was on.

The damage is already starting to heal and Louise and Neil both know that he would not be here today if it was not for the ventilator.

Louise said: "The ventilator actually goes right into the lung rather than the oxygen that goes on the face.

"It risks damage to the lungs but it had to be done – after a few weeks I asked if that really had to be done and they said he would not be here now if it wasn't for the ventilator."

The couple has decided that it is too risky to have any more children in the future, but seeing the happy family all together it is testament enough that miracles can happen.

WEBLINK

http://home.clara.net/dawnjames – the Pre-eclampsia society web site.

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