Miracle baby Charlie, born at just 24 weeks, gets set for first day at school
- Credit: Nick Butcher
A child’s first day at school is an emotional time for any parents, but for Becky and Jason Fisk of Willingham St Mary, it is a day they thought they would never see.
Arriving on New Year’s Day after just 24 weeks and weighing a fragile 1lb 4oz, their son Charlie battled for survival every day and was monitored in hospital for four months after his birth.
But despite his rocky start to life, Charlie defied all the odds and, now four, he ready to put on his school uniform and step into the big, wide world.
Mrs Fisk, 39, said: “It is one of the big, big milestones for us, and is one of the occasions I thought about when he was in hospital and worried I might never get to see.
“So much has happened between now and then and it has been such a rollercoaster. But to get him to this point is just amazing.
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“There have already been some tears and I’m sure there will be some more. I’m quite nervous but I know he will do amazingly and it is a new chapter for him.”
Charlie will be spending two days a week at Brampton Primary School and the remaining three days at the Warren School in Oulton Broad, which specialises in helping children with learning difficulties.
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He was diagnosed with Ataxic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy, which affects his balance, at the age of two. It was caused by his premature birth.
Mrs Fisk said: “When he came home from hospital so many things happened. I couldn’t leave him alone for even a second and he stopped breathing so many times.
“He didn’t walk for a long time or sit very well and he had delayed development across the board, but in the last six months he’s been catching up quite quickly.
“I’m so proud of him because things could have been so different, but with the help and support from everyone we have now got to a point where he is ready to go into the big, wide world.”
Mrs Fisk had an uneventful pregnancy until her waters broke at hospital when she went feeling unwell. She was transferred by ambulance to a specialist unit at Luton and Dunstable Hopsital and within 24 hours Charlie was born.
He was kept in an incubator for the first ten days, and was transferred to the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital after five weeks where he was able to meet his siblings Sophie, 15, Ben, 13 and Hollie, 12. A fortnight later he was moved to the James Paget Hospital in Gorleston, before being allowed to go home in April.
Mrs Fisk said: “He is such a rarity because you just don’t get many babies who are born that early and survive and go on to live relatively normal lives.
“The most exciting thing for me was going to get his school shoes. Up until now he has had to wear Piedro Boots for support, but in the last few weeks we’ve been able to swap the boots for shoes and splints and I took him for the first time to have his feet measured in a shoe shop.”
Charlie has been attending nursery at the Warren School since January and still receives help from a physiotherapist and speech therapist.
He will start school full time on Monday.
Mrs Fisk said: “I think he is really going to flourish because he’s extremely bright.
“He can do the alphabet forwards and backwards and put together small words.
“Because of all the trauma he has been through he just takes things in his stride.”
Charlie, like most children his age, loves the outdoors and even helps to look after his own chickens on the farm where they live.