A nurse has relived her agony after being told her miracle baby – who was born no bigger than her hand – would not be resuscitated unless he had a heartbeat.
Already beating the odds as the only one of Anita Hyams’ three children to be conceived without fertility drugs, William, who weighed just 1lb 4oz when he was delivered at 23 weeks and five days, was almost four months early.
Now, seeing William grow into a healthy 16-month-old toddler, Anita, 38, of Southend, Essex sat by his hospital bedside with her police detention officer husband, Dan, 36, for four months before he was discharged.
William's foot in is dad Dan's hand (Collect/PA Real Life)
She said: “He is alive and kicking and a fully-formed baby."
“He is not quite as developed as other babies his age, but he is getting there, and he is alive."
Anita and William (Collect/PA Real Life)
When Anita, who also has two daughters, Olivia, eight, and Marion, five, felt feverish after completing a long shift as an intensive care nurse on June 6, 2016, she thought nothing of it.
Going to bed, she woke in the early hours and, feeling achy and unwell, she took a paracetamol and hoped the pain would subside.
Anita and Dan with William when he was finally discharged
Then at 5am, she woke again and knew at once that she was in labor.
She said: “I’d already had two children, so knew exactly what the feeling was. I was having contractions."
“I went downstairs and walked around for a bit, praying I wasn’t having the baby.”
William at 70 days (Collect/PA Real Life)
Ringing her dad, Alan Bull, 62, who lived three miles away in Rochford, Essex, he advised her to wake her sleeping husband and call the hospital.
Leaving Alan to look after their daughters, terrified Dan and Anita drove to Southend University Hospital.
“We wanted this baby so badly, as I’d miscarried before,” Anita said, recalling how she had lost a child at nine weeks in December 2015 – making William even more precious.
Dan and Anita with William aged one (Collect/PA Real Life)
Suffering with polycystic ovary syndrome, causing sufferers to develop ovarian cysts because of hormonal imbalances making conception a challenge, she also had an under-active thyroid.
Together, these conditions had made falling pregnant difficult, and she had taken the fertility drug metformin to improve her rate of ovulation before conceiving both daughters.
Already amazed to have conceived this time without assistance, when William Sidney Hyams arrived weighing just 1lb 4oz, – the equivalent of two thirds of a bag of sugar – at 1.41pm on June 7, she and Dan were astonished.
Luckily, he took a breath on his own and he was then given oxygen tubes to help him breath.
He was immediately whisked away to the special care baby unit, before Anita even had chance to see him.
“I saw William for the first time at three hours old,” she said.
L-R Olivia, Dan, William, Anita and Marion (Collect/PA Real Life)
Anita continued: “I was scared to even touch him, because he was so tiny, just the size of my hand.
“But it was like looking at a little miracle. He was fully formed, but not completely developed."
“All his fingers and toes were there, he was just like a miniature version of a baby.”
William now (Collect/PA Real Life)
Transferred to the more specialist Royal London Hospital in east London that night, William was looked after in the neonatal intensive care unit for 45 days.
Visiting their lad and watching him go from strength to strength every day, Anita, Dan and their daughters stayed in Stevenson House for the duration.
The free accommodation for families with unwell children is run by national charity The Sick Children’s Trust, which supports 4,00 children a year.
L-R Olivia, William and Marion (Collect/PA Real Life)
“We stayed with him as much as we could and read to him every day,” said Anita.
“He got stronger every day and, on August 31, was taken back to Southend University Hospital, as he had made so much progress.”
Eventually, the family took William home on October 7 -just eight days after his official due date of September 29.
William at two hours old (Collect/PA Real Life)
Anita continued: “His sisters adore him and are like two extra little mummies to him."
“I still feel so emotional talking about it all. He is so full of smiles and life. He can sit up on his own, but can’t crawl just yet. I know he’ll get there, though.
“And I’m just so grateful that he’s here.”
For more information about The Sick Children’s Trust visit www.sickchildrenstrust.org