Our little crackers

Miracle babies at Jessop Wing'Shelley Walton and partner Neil Wainwright with their son Alfie who was born prematurely at Jessops
Miracle babies at Jessop Wing'Shelley Walton and partner Neil Wainwright with their son Alfie who was born prematurely at Jessops

THIS time last year tiny tots Pippa Wood and Alfie Wainwright were battling to survive, born severely premature at Sheffield’s specialist Jessop Wing hospital.

Their parents were clinging on to hope they would pull through as the plucky pair lay in intensive care at the Jessop neonatal unit.

But now, 12 months on, Pippa and Alfie are both happy, healthy and crawling - and their parents were able to celebrate Christmas with their babies at home. The families today said they are indebted to staff at the Jessop Wing for helping their babies survive an extremely tough start in life. Pippa’s dad Robin, aged 36, said: “The care Pippa received was brilliant. We couldn’t ask for any more really.”

Now aged 14 months, Pippa spent Christmas with Robin and mum Jennie, 34, at their home in Woodseats.

A year ago it was very different - Pippa was still in intensive care, after she was born in October when Jennie was in just her 27th week of pregnancy.

The tiny baby was three months premature and weighed just 560 grammes - 1lb 4oz.

She was lucky to have made it that far - Jennie’s waters broke early, in her 17th week, and doctors said her baby was not going to make it.

But Pippa pulled through and was in hospital until March - 145 days - and relied on bottled oxygen until October, six days before her first birthday.

“Pippa is doing really well now,” said Robin.

“She is crawling around and standing up and is feeding with no problems.

“We had Christmas and New Year at the hospital last year, so it is really nice to be home now.”

Now weighing just over a stone and wearing clothes meant for three-month-old babies, Pippa still has a lot of growing to do. But she is a bubbly, happy baby.

Alfie Wainwright was born last November, six weeks premature, weighing 4lb 3oz, and was rushed straight into intensive care.

His mum Shelley Walton, 24, had come into hospital when he stopped kicking in her womb and doctors said if she had not come in that day he would have died.

He was tangled up in the cord and surgeons performed an emergency Caesarean section to help him survive.

He spent three weeks in the hospital’s high dependency unit, relying on an incubator because he had trouble feeding.

But Alfie improved after a month and was discharged in late December last year.

Now fully recovered, the gorgeous little toddler has spent Christmas at home in Shiregreen.

“Alfie is completely fine now - he is really alert, happy and weighs about two stone,” said Shelley, who is back at work as a hospital MRI assistant.

“He looks completely different from when he was born - it’s amazing.

“The care we received was brilliant. The nurses at the Jessop Wing were amazing and the aftercare was really good.

“We had a neonatal nurse come every week for about three months. We can’t really thank them enough.”

BABIES IN NUMBERS:

n 1lb 7oz - how much Pippa weighed

n one stone - how much she weighs now

n 145 days - the length of time Pippa spent in hospital

n 4lb 3oz - how much Alfie weighed

n two stone - how much he weighs now