TRAGEDY has turned to joy for a family who lost one of their twin boys.
After the death of son Riley at just five days old, terrified parents Lee Dent and Kym Wood were left in fear that his brother Jayden may also not survive due to serious heart problems.
But today they have revealed their delight that the 14-month-old will be allowed to spend Christmas Day at home with his family for the first time.
It will mark the end of a tough time.
Riley died after he was born 15 weeks premature on November 1, last year.
“It was so traumatic,” said Lee, 25.
“Last year we were coping with so much after losing Riley, Jayden’s health, and the death of my brother who died a month before the boys were born.
“I was so stressed I was hospitalised twice. The second time I had a mild heart attack.
“The twins were born at 25 weeks, and we were told not to get our hopes up too much that they would make it.
“Riley passed away and we have gone through a lot with Jayden.
“His weight dropped to 1lb 5oz at one point.
“He has lung disease and a hole in his heart. But he is a fighter.”
“We never got to see him last Christmas because we couldn’t make it to the hospital that day, as we were at home with the other children.
“So this year it will be the best Christmas. He has been spoilt rotten.”
Jayden was so premature – born at 1lb 10oz – that he spent last Christmas day in hospital away from his parents, in Concord, Washington.
He also suffered from patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), which meant that a duct in his heart that should have closed when he was born did not, and he had to have an operation to close it at only a couple of weeks old.
Lee, who works part time in a bar, is also Jayden’s main carer as the youngster has to take medication and uses a home oxygen tank.
He said: “He had to go into hospital again last week because he had a bad chest and thrush in his mouth.
“They kept him in for two days, then I said to them ‘you aren’t doing anything other than I what I can do at home’.
“We brought him home and after another couple of days he really started to pick up.
“He has come back kicking and fighting, shouting and giggling as he should be.”
Riley, born at 1lb 5oz, died in the arms of his parents at Sunderland Royal Hospital, after suffering from extreme prematurity, respiratory distress and E.Coli Sepsis, which meant the disease infected his bloodstream.
Lee, who is due to marry Kym, 28, in seven months, said: “Riley was just too poorly to make it.
“We were called to the ward and asked if we wanted to baptise him, which we did, and we had all the family there for the baptism.
“Then we were called back to the ward, and his mum Kym held him for the only time.
“Then I did, and he squeezed my finger, then he died in my arms.”
The family praised the doctors and staff at Sunderland Royal Hospital.
The couple also have a three-month-old baby, Caleb, and Lee is step-dad to Kym’s children Keagan, six, and Brooklyn, five.
Kym, who is a full-time mother, said: “Keagan and Brooklyn have been amazing during such a difficult time, considering their age. We are proud of them.”
Lee and Kym said: “We are just so excited for this Christmas now. To have Jayden home is just fantastic.”