“I was told my 1.6lb baby was going to die but now he’s a little Tyson Fury”

Little Rueben Egan has overcome a long list of health problems, including a hole in the heart and E-Coli, and now his mum says he’s just like boxing giant Tyson Fury, who was also a premature baby

Ruben is a lionheart
Ruben is a lionheart

Little lionheart Rueben Egan is celebrating his first birthday today – a miracle for a baby who weighs just 1.6 pounds.

The tot has overcome a long list of health issues, including a hole in the heart and E-Coli.

But Rueben has proven he’s a fighter – as has world boxing champion Tyson Fury, who was also born premature.

Mum Danielle King, 22, was told to prepare for the worst when her waters ruptured at 23 weeks and she was taken to hospital.

Rueben wasn’t due until October 10, but he arrived on June 26.

Danielle says: “I managed to hold him for a few days but then I went into full labor.

“The nurses prepared me for a dead baby – they mentally prepared me for the worst. It was so awful. I kept thinking, ‘My baby is dead’. It was terrible.”

After 16 hours of labor at Leeds General Infirmary, Rueben was born – and Danielle was thrilled to hear her baby son cry.

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Little Reuben was a tiny newborn

“I can’t think of anything to compare it to,” she says. “It was one of a kind… such a tiny scream, and my heart absolutely soared.

“Staff said it was unheard of for a baby to cry at 24 weeks. I kept saying, ‘He’s alive’.

“I was afraid to look at him. But I had to hold him for a moment before they put him in an incubator.

“It could fit in the palm of my hand. He was beautiful.”

Rueben was taken straight to the ICU and placed in a state-of-the-art giraffe incubator that promotes natural healing, allows parents to bond with their baby, and gives medical professionals greater access.

Danielle says: “I was so worried that he wasn’t going to make it, I was constantly sitting next to his incubator. But he’s a little fighter, just like Tyson Fury.”

Danielle says he’s a little fighter

The 33-year-old boxer weighed just 1 pound when he was born three months premature. He is now a whopping 6ft 9in and 19st.

Danielle, from Hull, remembers being told by doctors that Rueben had a hole in his heart. She says: “The doctors put ibuprofen on the hole in his heart, which I find amazing.

“Because he was so small, he had difficulty eating and vomited a lot.

“He also had tachycardia (rapid heartbeat). The staff was amazing… so helpful.

“There have been so many setbacks and he’s been through so much. We both developed sepsis, then Rueben contracted a virus called Serratia.

“He also had an eye condition called ROP and had injections in both eyes to help the optic nerve develop.

“Also, he got E.coli. It was awful… one after the other. Then, at eight weeks of age, he started breathing unaided, which was a big moment.

“We were in the hospital for a total of 10 weeks. He showed what a little fighter he is.”

Recruiter Danielle is planning a huge jungle-themed party for her baby boy’s birthday. She says: “I was so nervous when I first brought him home and a couple of times he had to be hospitalized again. But now my little fighter is going to be one, he’s having a party! He’s such a smart boy, reacts to things and laughs and smiles a lot.

“He stands, takes a few wobbly steps, and says a word or two. He’s my mother Julie’s first grandchild…she’s obsessed with him.

“She has been a great help and is my rock.

“Rueben has fought all his life and just like Tyson Fury will be a champion.

“He’s a miracle. I’m so proud of him.”

Hannah Shore, Consultant Neonatologist at Leeds Children’s Hospital, said: “We are delighted that little Rueben has recovered so well after his time in our neonatal unit and is doing so well for someone born so early and small. “

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