TUBES covering his tiny body, Caden James Morrell lies in an incubator just hours after open heart surgery.
The stricken tot’s mum and dad feared the worst when he was rushed to hospital screaming and gasping for air.
The family were visiting relations, just two weeks after his birth, when he suffered the sudden symptoms.
Tests later revealed Caden had been born with a congenital condition called ventricular septal defect, meaning he would need immediate life-saving surgery.
Mum Kim Fisher, 28, from Hetton, said: “We were in the car when he started crying and making grunting noises.
“When we pulled over, I noticed his lips had turned blue and he had gone limp and clammy.
“We rushed him to the doctors as fast as we could. We were terrified.”
As medics carried out urgent tests on their first-born, Kim and partner Ian Morrell, 30, faced an anxious wait for news.
“We had no idea what was wrong at that point,” said Kim. “It took 30 minutes or so for them to carry out the X-rays and when they came back they found he had a hole in his heart.
“We were worried sick.”
Caden was later admitted to the Freeman Hospital, in Newcastle, where he underwent an eight-hour operation.
“It was only when he was in surgery that they discovered a second hole,” said Kim. “They had pretty much finished the operation when they found it and he had to go back into theatre.”
Now after weeks and months of follow up appointments and further tests, Caden has made a full recovery and Kim, a staff nurse at the stroke unit at Sunderland Royal Hospital, and Ian, a forklift truck driver at Nissan, in Washington, are looking forward to life as a family.
“Caden is now seven-months-old and has recovered really well,” said Kim. “After the operation, he was kept in intensive care overnight, but then released on to the ward.
“He had to go back into hospital for a hernia operation, but now he’s doing really well.”
Now, in a bid to raise money for the hospital where he was treated, Kim and Ian are set to embark on a punishing three-day bike ride on June 16.
It is hoped the 147-mile feat from Whitehaven, in Cumbria, to Sunderland will raise vital cash for Ward 23.
“We really wanted to do something to help the ward,” added Kim. “They do an amazing job there.”