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1lb birth baby Thomas Owen moved from Belfast hospital

By Donna Deeney

The parents of Thomas Owen Boyle got the Christmas present they had been wishing for when their precious bundle was deemed well enough to be transferred from the Royal Victoria Hospital to Altnagelvin.

Thomas Owen was not due to be born until the end of January, but he arrived in October, weighing just over a pound.

Complications during pregnancy meant his mum Stacey Thompson had to undergo a Caesarean section at 28 weeks to give her son the best chance of survival.

Every day Stacey and Thomas Owen's dad Terry Boyle travelled the 150-mile round trip from their Londonderry home to the Royal in Belfast, and watched over their tiny son as doctors and nurses battled to ensure he made it.

Since then Thomas Owen has shown real tenacity and strength of character by beating the odds and thriving.

He was such a fighter that just a few days before Christmas Stacey and Terry got the call they had been wishing for, telling them that Thomas Owen had been safely moved to Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Terry said: "The medical team at the Royal had tried to transfer Thomas Owen two weeks ahead of Christmas, but they had to turn back again almost immediately because he just wasn't well enough.

"We were incredibly disappointed, so when they said they would try again a few days before Christmas we were too scared to get our hopes up in case it didn't work out again.

"They called us to say Thomas Owen had been safety transferred to Altnagelvin and our Christmas was made right then. Christmas Day at the hospital was brilliant, better than we could have hoped for. The nurses and doctors couldn't do enough for all the families.

"Santa came on to the ward and brought presents for Thomas Owen, and he also got a wee memento for the tree that we will treasure forever.

"Having him so close to home means we can spend so much more time with him, but it has also meant his two grannies and two grandas have been able to see him too.

"Visiting is still restricted to me, Stacey and the grannies and grandas, but Thomas Owen has a great-granda too who is waiting patiently to meet his first great-grandson, and the rest of the families are just as keen."

Just before Thomas Owen made his premature arrival, the couple, who both worked at a restaurant in the Waterside area of Derry, were made redundant when the business closed.

This brought more misfortune when the couple were forced to give up their home but, as the new year approaches, 2017 is shaping up to be a good one for the family.

Terry explained: "Thomas Owen is doing so well, we hope he will be well enough to be discharged from hospital all together, which, considering he wasn't due to be born until January 27, isn't too bad at all.

"I have found work now too, which is bringing in money, so I can provide for my family, and we are saving hard and hope to be able to buy our own house later in 2017.

"We got our Christmas wish when Thomas Owen got moved to Altnagelvin, and it looks like we have so much to look forward to when the new year comes."

Belfast Telegraph

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