Battle for survival – the baby born small enough to fit in his mother’s hand

Harrison Macleod
Harrison Macleod
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PROUD mum Jessica Fenwick feared she had lost her precious baby boy on his first night at home after he stopped breathing.

Harrison Macleod was born 25 weeks into the 23-year-old’s pregnancy and spent 15 weeks fighting for his life in Sunderland Royal Hospital’s neonatal unit

Jessica Fenwick and Stewart Macleod, from Washington, with their son Harrison Macleod who  was born prematurely 1.1.2014

Jessica Fenwick and Stewart Macleod, from Washington, with their son Harrison Macleod who was born prematurely 1.1.2014

Parents Jessica and Stewart Macleod, 24, were told the tiny baby might not survive, but he was eventually allowed home.

Just hours later, Harrison – who weighed 1lb 5oz when he was born – fell ill and they rushed him back to hospital in their car.

Moments before they arrived, Harrison stopped breathing and a frantic Jessica had to resuscitate the baby.

She said: “We were on the way to the hospital when he went all limp. I had to resuscitate him for about a minute before the doctors came and took over.

“Nothing can prepare you for something like that.

“When we were in the hospital after he was born, a couple of times the doctors would come into the room and say they couldn’t make any promises with Harrison.

“It was so stressful, you go on a real roller coaster.”

When Harrison was born, Jessica, from Donwell, Washington, could fit him in the palm of her hand.

After an emergency Caesarean he had to be resuscitated and in the first few weeks of life, he had two blood transfusions, a platelet transfusion and required round-the-clock care in a special incubator.

Jessica said: “I’d had pains in the pregnancy but I was told they were just normal cramps.

“Then one morning I went down for breakfast and started bleeding. I thought I’d lost him. I was in labour for five hours in the hospital, but then Harrison’s heart rate plummeted and they had to perform an emergency Caesarean to get him out.”

Today, aged five months, Harrison is a happy baby, and though he still requires oxygen, he is making good progress.

Jessica said: “He has chronic lung disease, but they are going to try and start weaning him off oxygen after the summer.

“They think he may have problems with his hearing but we won’t know until he’s older.

“Apart from that, he’s doing brilliantly. He’s able to do the same things as other babies his age who weren’t born prematurely.” To thank the dedicated doctors and nurses who helped him to beat the odds, family and friends are holding a series of fund-raisers for the unit.

Jessica said: “The staff at the unit were absolutely brilliant. I was so anxious about leaving him, but they let me stay in accommodation next door. I couldn’t fault them.”

To say thank you, Jessica is hosting a charity night at The Black Bush pub in Washington Village from 4pm to 9pm on June 29. There will be a raffle, tombola, cake sale and disco.

Earlier in the month, on Sunday, June 8, Harrison’s godmother Danielle Cummings, 24, from Blackfell will bungee jump 200ft from a crane in the pub’s car park.

•To donate to fundraisng for the neonatal unit, visit