I was heartbroken when I found out my newborn baby boy needed to have his tiny leg amputated

A MUM has shared a heartbreaking photo of her tiny premature baby who needed his leg amputated.

Kenidee Brownbill, 24, was just 23 weeks pregnant when she gave birth to Mason – an age a baby is not deemed capable of surviving.

But Mason is a “little fighter” and managed to recover from a rare infection, five life-saving surgeries, a brain bleed and the amputation of his left leg.

The seven months old, called a “micro-preemie baby”, is thriving at home after a four month stay in hospital.

Kenidee, from Oxford, said: “He amazes me every day with how strong he is and what he has been through. 

“It was a very rocky rollercoaster journey. There were lots of moments that we didn’t think he would make it.

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“We think he will be able to walk with a prosthetic leg one day, maybe even this year, but this will come with time and I will always follow Mason’s lead and what he wants to do.”

Estate agent Kenidee found out she was pregnant with her partner, Micheal Cox, 26, in April 2021, and the pair were “ecstatic”.

She said: “On the most part my pregnancy was fine. 

“I had sickness in the first trimester and a few bleeds, one was quite severe but I was happy.

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“Then when I was 23 weeks pregnant, I was having some cramps over a few days and I rang the Maternity Assessment Unit and got told it sounded like pelvic girdle pain.

“But then the pains got more intense. I rang again and was told to go in. It was my first baby so I had no idea what labour was supposed to feel like.

“When I got to the hospital I suddenly felt funny and had to get up. I leant over the bed and had a massive bleed.

“One of the doctors assessed me and told me I would be having my baby that night. 

“It was just three weeks after my scan. I was worried and confused as everything was fine on the scan. I just kept telling the doctors I wanted to fight for my baby.”

We couldn’t hold him for three weeks because of how sick he was. Which was devastating

Mason was born on August 14 weighing just 610g compared to a typical newborn weighing between five to eight pounds (2,500g to 4,000g).

He was immediately taken for intensive, around-the-clock care by specialist staff at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.

Kenidee said: “Before his birth I was prepped by the doctors from the newborn intensive care unit (NICU) who said he would likely not be breathing by himself or make any noises when he came out.

“But my little fighter was breathing and made a little sound.

“When Mason was born he could fit into the palms of your hands.

“We saw him for the first time in a plastic bag.”

Plastic wrapping is often used to help preterm babies avoid hypothermia.

Kenidee added: “Thankfully we could both be there 24 hours a day if we wanted to to visit him.

“But we couldn’t hold him for three weeks because of how sick he was. Which was devastating.

“The NICU nurse asked for my phone so she could take some pictures of him for me. I'll forever cherish those pictures.”

Mason was born with a rare infection and quickly deteriorated.

He was also diagnosed with NEC (necrotising enterocolitis), which is when tissues in the gut become inflamed and start to rot away.

What is necrotising enterocolitis (NEC)

NEC is a serious illness in which tissues in the intestine become inflamed and start to die.

This can lead to a hole developing, which allows the contents of the intestine to leak into the tummy. This can cause a very dangerous infection.

NEC can be difficult to diagnose, but the symptoms tend to include general signs of illness, problems feeding or vomiting, and a swollen and tender abdomen.

NEC is the most common surgical emergency in newborn babies and tends to affect more babies born prematurely than those born full-term.

Doctors believe it appears to be becoming more common, but it is likely that this is because more premature babies are surviving.

Kenidee said: “His bowel perforated and he had surgery at 12 days old. We were told it was unlikely he’d survive the surgery. 

“Thankfully we had an amazing surgeon who acted quickly and Mason survived. He had a stoma from this surgery for 11 weeks until he was big enough to have it reversed.

“He unfortunately also lost circulation to his lower left leg, no one could say why and sadly it got amputated in October. 

“At first I was upset for him and worried about how losing a leg would affect his future – I was scared that he would get bullied at school for being different. 

“Now I’ve come to terms with Mason losing his leg after having seven months to process what’s happened. It still upsets me but I’m hopeful for his future.

“I’ve even bought him a book called 'What happened to you?' which is about a boy with one leg to read to him as he gets older so he doesn’t feel so isolated.”

Mason was discharged from hospital on 13th December 2021 on the day before he turned four months old.

Now Mason has been home for three months and still has regular hospital appointments to monitor his progress.

Kenidee said: “He's now tube fed due to having an unsafe swallow which is common in micro-preemie babies.

“He has oxygen too due to his chronic lung disease. We are starting to wean him off this.

“We are getting used to our new normal. 

“As scary as it may be at the time, these little babies are stronger than most would think.

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“Mason went through so much and still came out fighting, and survived it all. My life is completely different to what I expected it to be with a baby but that's okay.

“We are very grateful for everything the doctors and nurses have done for Mason at the John Radcliffe Hospital NICU unit. They have done amazing things and were so supportive throughout our journey.”

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