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Just born: Alexander James Boyd

Joan McCourt with her newborn baby Alexander James Boyd at the Ulster Hospital maternity ward.
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Joan McCourt with her newborn baby Alexander James Boyd at the Ulster Hospital maternity ward.

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By Anne Madden

Baby Alexander James Boyd was the best birthday present his mum could have wished for. Alexander was born the day before his mother Joan McCourt’s 44th birthday. As a first-time mum, he had been much longed for.

But Joan, who is originally from Dundalk, had a serious health scare during her pregnancy which baffled medics at first.

She suffered a mild stroke at 20 weeks into her pregnancy which went undetected for a week.

“It was very frightening at the time,” said Joan. “I had a weakness in my arm.

“My GP was excellent and sent me for an MRI scan at the Independent Clinic in Belfast.

“It revealed that there were little clots on my brain and I was sent as a medical emergency to the Royal for treatment.”

Throughout the rest of her pregnancy Joan had to inject herself twice a day with blood-thinning drugs and was monitored carefully by her GP.

Medical concerns that labour might trigger a further stroke meant she was scheduled to have a Caesarean section.

But Alexander was impatient to arrive into the world and she had the C-section a few days earlier than planned, on August 1.

Two days after his birth, young Alexander lay stretched out on his mum’s lap, blissfully ignorant of all the trauma that had taken place.

His proud dad, Colin Boyd, praised staff at the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald for being “tremendous”.

Colin said he was looking forward to having both mum and baby home.

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