A mother has shared a heartbreaking photo of her tiny premature baby whose leg had to be amputated.
Kenidee Brownbill, 24, was just 23 weeks pregnant when she gave birth to Mason – an age considered non-viable in a baby.
But Mason is a “little fighter” and has been recovering from a rare infection, five life-saving surgeries, a brain hemorrhage and the amputation of his left leg.
The seven-month-old baby, dubbed the “micro-premature baby,” is thriving at home after a four-month hospitalization.
Kenidee, from Oxford, said: “He amazes me every day with how strong he is and what he’s been through.
“It was a very rocky roller coaster ride. There were many moments when we didn’t think he would make it.
“We believe that one day he will be able to walk with a prosthetic leg, maybe even this year, but that will come with time and I will always follow Mason’s lead and what he wants to do.”
Real estate agent Kenidee found out she was pregnant with partner Micheal Cox, 26, in April 2021 and the couple were “ecstatic”.
She said: “My pregnancy was mostly fine.
“I had nausea and a few bleeds in the first trimester, one of which was pretty heavy, but I was happy.
“Then when I was 23 weeks pregnant I had cramps for a few days and I called the maternity department and was told it sounded like pelvic girdle pain.
“But then the pain got worse. I rang the bell again and was asked to go inside. It was my first baby, so I had no idea what labor was supposed to feel like.
“When I got to the hospital, I suddenly felt weird and had to get up. I was bending over the bed and had a massive bleed.
“One of the doctors examined me and told me that I would have my baby that night.
“It was only three weeks after my scan. I was concerned and confused as everything was fine on the scan. I kept telling the doctors that I wanted to fight for my baby.”
We couldn’t keep him for three weeks because he was so ill. Which was devastating
Mason was born on August 14 and weighed just 610g compared to a typical newborn weighing between 5 and 8 pounds (2,500g to 4,000g).
He was immediately given intensive 24-hour care by specialist staff at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.
Kenidee said: “Before he was born, I was prepped by the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) doctors, who said he probably wouldn’t breathe on his own or make any noise when he comes out.
“But my little fighter was breathing and making a little noise.
“When Mason was born, he fit in the palms of your hands.
“We first saw it in a plastic bag.”
Plastic wrap is often used to help premature babies avoid hypothermia.
Kenidee added: “Luckily we could both be there 24 hours a day if we wanted to visit him.
“But we couldn’t keep him for three weeks because he was so ill. Which was devastating.
“The intensive care nurse asked for my phone so she could take some pictures of him for me. I will cherish these images forever.”
Mason was born with a rare infection and it quickly got worse.
He has also been diagnosed with NEC (necrotizing enterocolitis), which is a condition in which tissues in the gut become inflamed and begin to rot.
What is Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC)
NEC is a serious disease in which tissues in the gut become inflamed and begin to die.
This can create a hole through which the contents of the intestine can escape into the abdomen. This can lead to a very dangerous infection.
NEC can be difficult to diagnose, but symptoms usually include general signs of illness, problems feeding or vomiting, and a swollen and tender abdomen.
NEC is the most common surgical emergency in newborns and tends to affect more preterm babies than term babies.
Doctors believe it’s becoming more common, but it’s likely because more preterm babies are surviving.
Kenidee said: “His bowel perforated and he had surgery when he was 12 days old. We were told it was unlikely he would survive the surgery.
“Luckily we had a great surgeon who acted quickly and Mason survived. He had a stoma from this surgery for 11 weeks until it was big enough to have it reversed.
“Unfortunately he also lost circulation in his left lower leg, no one could say why and unfortunately it was amputated in October.
“At first I was mad at him and worried about how losing a leg would affect his future – I was afraid he would be bullied at school for being different.
“Now I’ve come to terms with the fact that Mason lost his leg after giving him seven months to process what happened. It still annoys me, but I’m hopeful for his future.
“I even gave him a book called ‘What Happened to You?’ Bought. It’s about a boy with one leg who reads to him as he gets older so he doesn’t feel so isolated.”
Mason was discharged from the hospital on December 13, 2021, the day before he turned four months old.
Now Mason has been home for three months and still has regular hospital appointments to monitor his progress.
Kenidee said: “He is now being tube-fed because he has unsteady swallowing, which is common in micro-premature babies.
“Because of his chronic lung disease, he also has oxygen. We’re starting to wean him off that.
“We’re getting used to our new normal.
“As scary as it may be at this time, these little babies are stronger than most would think.
“Mason has been through so much and still fought and survived it all. My life is very different from how I imagined it would be with a baby, but that’s okay.
“We are very grateful for all that the doctors and nurses in the ICU at John Radcliffe Hospital have done for Mason. You have done amazing things and been so supportive throughout our journey.”
https://www.thesun.ie/health/8658834/heartbroken-newborn-baby-boy-tiny-leg-amputated/ I was heartbroken to find out that my newborn boy had to have his tiny leg amputated