Get involved: send your pictures, video, news & views by texting BOREHAMWOOD to 80360, or email us
Borehamwood baby Chase Brown born at 24 weeks is a 'miracle', say his parents
He weighed less than a bag of sugar and could fit into his dad’s palm.
But the courage Chase Brown has shown since he was born on December 18 - when his mum Shoana Lewis was just 24 weeks into her pregnancy - is “inspirational”.
The now two-month old baby came into this world weighing just 668g and was so frail his ribs and bones could be seen through his skin.
Despite having a hole in his heart, an intestinal blockage, a collapsed lung and catching viral infections, he has astounded doctors who say his survival is nothing short of a miracle.
Just after his birth at Barnet General Hospital, he was transferred to a special baby unit at University College Hospital in Euston, where he remains today.
Shoana, 20, and her 19-year-old partner Richie found out they were expecting twins in August - but one sadly died when she was just over two months pregnant.
After the couple were in a “severe” car crash on the M25 at the start of November she feared the worst - but she was checked over by doctors who said her baby was doing “just fine.”
Three weeks later, the care worker began bleeding and thought she was having a miscarriage - but despite her concerns, doctors said it was nothing to worry about.
But a few nights later, the Grantham Green, Borehamwood, resident, woke up in "excrutating pain" in the middle of the night.
She said: "I stood up and could not feel my legs, it was all a daze. I was not sure if it was normal as this was my first pregnancy, but Richie called an ambulance anyway.
“I was not really sure what was going on because it all happened so quickly.
“I was shocked when they said I was in labour - I thought he was going to die. I was relieved when I heard a cry, but then the room fell silent. It took doctors seven minutes to find a heartbeat.
“It was the longest seven minutes of my life.”
The couple were not allowed to hold - or even touch - their newborn who was put in a special plastic bag and whisked off to the London hospital by ambulance.
Shoana had to stay in hospital for two nights so Richie rushed down to Euston to be with his son in his first few hours of life.
The gardener said: “It was horrible seeing him without Shoana, but he looked so perfect even though he was in an incubator.
“He was tiny and was the size of my palm. I did not know what the risks were so I did not know what to expect, it was a very scary time.”
It would be two weeks before Shoana was allowed to hold her baby for the first time and she said the moment was both “heartbreaking and amazing”.
Chase, who is now almost two months old, has got “chubbier” since his birth and is getting ready to have surgery to remove a blockage in his intestine.
He has already had heart surgery to tighten one of his valves, will also need a second heart operation in the next few months.
The baby’s family is trying to raise as much money as possible for Ickle Pickles - a charity which cares for premature babies - by selling wristbands in honour of Chase.
Shoana added: “It is horrible not being able to do normal things with your baby - like wake up to him crying in the middle of the night and take him out in his push chair.
“I hate seeing him in hospital.
“But for now he is our little miracle and we want to raise awareness about this, because having a baby prematurely could happen to anyone.”
Wristbands cost £2 each. To buy one, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.