Brave baby Owen at home for Christmas

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Owen Bloomfield, a little boy with a fighting spirit, will spend his first Christmas at home with his mum Jennifer and dad Ronnie, this year.

After spending six months straight from birth in Glasgow’s Yorkhill Hospital Jennifer Strachan and Ronnie Bloomfield are delighted to have their little boy Owen at home for Christmas for the first time.

Owen was born on July 23 last year, with various life-threatening medical conditions, including a hole in his heart and a congenital diaphragmatic hernia which meant that the left side of his diaphragm didn’t form. As a result of this, some of his other organs moved up the lefthand side of his chest and developed on top of his left lung.

Owen’s colon also went up through his oesophagus and spine which caused a blockage, meaning 50cm of his small intestine stopped working.

Since his birth, Owen has had various operations to correct his problems. Work has been carried out on Owen’s diaphragm, small intestine, heart and most recently a support wire was removed from his chest only last week.

Owen didn’t receive his first vital operation until almost three weeks after his birth because he was simply too ill.

Ronnie and Jennifer were told by doctors that he had a very little chance of survival and five days after Owen was born they were told that if he didn’t make improve within two days the best thing for them to do was to turn off his life support machine.

The following day, however, Owen was a different baby. Being put on the highest amount of drugs possible, doctors were unsure of Owen’s chances, and now 17 months on, he’s up on his feet and walking with his head held high.

Jennifer said: “It’s amazing to think that we were told at the very beginning the doctors didn’t think he would have 24 hours to live, now he’s almost one and a half and we’re getting ready to celebrate Christmas.”

“The first six months were horrible, everything took so long. He got his first operation and was fine, then all of a sudden his tummy swelled up and he was back on a ventilator. The day after he had to get an emergency operation on his small intestine, it was like one step forward and a 100 steps back.”

Owen spent his first eight months being fed milk through a gastrostomy constantly, and his mum and dad were delighted to see him eat his first piece of solid food on his first birthday, after all, who can refuse a piece of cake!

Because of Owen’s stomach problems he never crawled but got his way about by shuffling along the floor on his bottom. Last month however, Ronnie saw Owen take his first baby steps and later that day, Jennifer saw him take his first steps at her mum’s house.

This year will be slightly different for Ronnie, Jennifer and their little boy Owen, as they will spend their first Christmas at home with their family.

ASCO worker Ronnie said: “It’s not great sitting about in a hospital for six months. Our family came down now and again to visit but we spent Christmas by Owen’s bedside, he only got one parcel at the time and got the rest when we came home. This year we’re having everyone round to ours so it will be different, unfortunately for me I’ll be working, but it will still be better than being at hospital!

“It’s so good to see the Christmas tree surrounded by parcels that are all for him, considering we were told he wouldn’t survive this long.”

Jennifer added: “Although it was a tough time for both of us I wouldn’t change it for the world, he’s such a good little boy.”

Jennifer and Ronnie would both like to extend their thanks to their family and friends, without whom they firmyl believe wouldn’t have been able to get through Owen’s first six months.

They would also like to thank all the staff at both Yorkhill Hospital and Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, and also all the companies who have raised money towards the Sick Kids Unit and supported the couple in all their fundraising efforts.

Ronnie added: “Our thoughts are with anyone else at this time of year who may have to spend Christmas with their children in hospital.”

The Buchanie would like to wish Owen, Jennifer and Ronnie a very happy Christmas and New Year.