Belfast Telegraph

Little Peter Galbraith thriving after being born at 28 weeks weighing little more than two soup cans

By Donna Deeney

This is the toddler who has overcome the odds after being born at 28 weeks weighing just 1lb 9ozs.

Peter Galbraith's mum Claire describes him as a placid baby - which belies the strength and determination he has shown since he arrived prematurely.

Little Peter spent the first 13 weeks of his life being cared for by the staff in Altnagelvin Hospital's neonatal intensive care unit.

Dedicated nurses and doctors battled to keep him alive while his mum and dad Trevor looked on.

Peter's tenacity won through, and to mark his first birthday his parents organised a fundraising coffee morning that raised £3,500 thanks to family and friends of the Strabane couple.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Claire said it was remarkable that although Peter turned one on April 22, it is a birthday he should only be celebrating this week.

She recalled: "I developed high blood pressure at 24 weeks, and a Doppler scan at 28 weeks showed Peter wasn't getting enough nutrients.

"He wasn't growing properly and his life was in danger.

"At that stage I was given steroids to boost his lung development over two days and a planned Caesarean was carried out at 28 weeks by a team of professionals including the anaesthetist, obstetrician, neonatal staff and paediatricians, all there because they weren't sure how things were going to pan out for Peter.

"When he was born the big concern was his weight, which was small for a 28-week-old baby. There are babies born at 28 weeks weighing 2lb or even 2.5lb, but he was just 1lb 9ozs.

"That brought additional complications because the blood supply wasn't being sent to all his organs equally so they were underdeveloped."

Moments after he was delivered, Peter was whisked into the neonatal intensive care unit where he would spend the next 13 weeks.

His mum added: "Peter's first feeds were literally drops of breast milk from a tube because he was born before he had developed the ability to suck.

"That was gradually built up but he stayed in the incubator for 10 weeks.

"He needed help with breathing and eating and to keep his temperature at the right level because babies at that age can't regulate their own temperature.

"He also needed four blood transfusions."

While Peter spent the first 10 weeks of life inside the incubator, he remained in the neonatal unit for an additional three weeks with his parents watching over him.

He grew in strength until the day they were given the go-ahead to take him home, where his big brother Robbie (3) was waiting to greet him.

While the family kept Peter safe inside their home last year to protect him from risk of infections, Claire said this summer will be very different.

She explained: "When we brought him home we were quite protective of him, as you might imagine.

"We basically went into hibernation for six months and while Trevor and I would have gone out to things on our own, we never really took Peter out to events because of the risk of infection.

"That decision paid off and he is doing remarkably well, which we are so delighted about. We have a number of outings and gatherings planned so this year it will be very different - it's full steam ahead.

"Peter is a very pleasant, quiet, placid baby and is doing very well and he has done really well since he came home. He has stayed free from hospital admissions, thankfully, and he is reaching all the milestones for a one-year-old, which is really good."

One of the things the family did was mark Peter's birthday on April 22 by recognising the lifesaving care he received during his 13-week stay at Altnagelvin's neonatal unit.

Claire explained how they wanted to give something back to those who helped him.

"The level of specialist care Peter received would have cost a small fortune," she said.

"The £3,500 we raised will be like a drop in the ocean, but we really wanted to do something as a thank you. We didn't do this all by ourselves. We had so much help from our families and friends who helped make things for the coffee morning and who contributed donations.

"We were delighted to be able to hand over the money to the staff from the neonatal unit and thank them again for all the care they gave to Peter."

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