8:40pm Sunday 26th July 2009
By Amanda Williams »
THE mother of a premature baby given hours to live has spoken of her pride and relief in watching her son defeat the odds – and even dodge swine flu – as she prepares to celebrate his first birthday.
Jardell Townsend weighed just 2 lb when he was born four months early, in August last year.
The baby boy from Headington developed post haemorrhagic hydrocephalus – fluid on the brain which causes the skull to swell – and further complications, including chronic lung disease, coliform on the lungs and epilepsy.
But despite bleak predictions from doctors at the John Radcliffe Hospital, who told his mother Hailey to say her final goodbyes to him three times, Jardell has battled through.
Now, despite being in a high-risk category, he has managed to escape infection after his sister contracted swine flu.
Miss Townsend, 25, who lives in Wharton Road with her four children, said: “They said he wouldn’t live past 24 hours – but he did.
“They said he’d never, ever be able to drink from his bottle, but now he’s drinking from his bottle every day and he can hold his rattle and everything.
“They said he’d be completely paralysed on his left hand side, but now he is moving there.
“And they said he would be completely brain damaged – but for the first time recently, we managed to make him laugh.”
Last week, Miss Townsend’s five-year-old daughter Emily contracted swine flu and the family were quarantined, although she has since made a full recovery.
Miss Townsend said: “My little girl was very ill. She stopped breathing at one point and started convulsing – I was so worried about her.
“They told me if Jardell got swine flu he could potentially die, but luckily the doctor gave him Tamiflu immediately and he has even managed to battle against that.”
When the Oxford Mail first told Jardell’s story, in January, several readers called in and offered to make him hats to keep his swollen head warm.
Miss Townsend is beginning preparations for a first birthday party for her ‘miracle baby’ on August 27.
She said: “I wondered whether to have one, because he’s so tiny, he’s still wearing a three-month-old’s clothes.
“But he wasn’t expected to live this long, so we want to make sure it really is a celebration.”
-- The only thing that has kept this miracle baby alive is God. God has sustained this child's life, protected him from swine flu, restores him. As adults, we must remember that it is God who put us here and the fact that we are still here is because we have not fulfilled our role. When it is time for us to go, that is when we will go. Despite all of the threats and disturbances along the way that make you believe you may not make it another day, if you are supposed to be here, you will be here. Likewise, to see all the problems in the world and not believe in His ability to change the situation through you, does not speak to faith in the One who gave you life.