Edinburgh mum’s joy as ‘miracle baby’ given just one day to live celebrates first birthday

Little baby Hector has defied the odds to reach milestone first birthday

An Edinburgh mum has said she feels “like the luckiest person” after her baby son, who was given just one day to live, celebrated his first birthday.

When Marie Clare Tully gave birth to her son Hector – prematurely at just 23 weeks – doctors said he had a very low chance of survival and probably only had a day to live.

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But little Hector defied the odds – and has just celebrated his first birthday.

Little Hector Tully, who was given a day to live, has now celebrated his first birthday. Photos: Marie Clare Tully

Hector has has spent 259 nights of his young life at the Capital’s Royal Hospital for Children and Young People after being born with severe complications due to his prematurity.

He was diagnosed with hydrocephalus, which means spinal fluid cannot flow around the body, due to a bleed on his brain. Hector also chronic lung disease, retinopathy, a feeding tube and centralised sleep apnoea.

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The one-year-old has already had 15 operations and has been rushed to A&E over 25 times.

Despite an an unimaginably difficult year, Marie Clare and husband Angus, who is director of music at Fettes College, are so proud of their “miracle baby”.

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Speaking to BBC Scotland, 41-year Marie Clare said: “His case is unique as he has extra complications due to his prematurity. He has also been very unlucky as the shunt inside his head keeps blocking.

“I saw him when he was born and gave him a kiss and then he was wrapped in plastic to keep him warm and rushed to the resuscitation department.

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“I felt devastation at not being able to be with him. I was heartbroken that we couldn't be with him in those crucial early moments.

“I feel like the luckiest person, he's so fun, he brings so much joy to so many people.

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“When I heard he was going to survive, I let out a wail that came from the bottom of my soul. I can't articulate it – it was the greatest feeling in the world.

“There was still a long way to go but to know the team thought he was going to survive was so great.”

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She continued: “I'm so proud of him. He is a miracle, he is beyond a miracle, and I am so proud of him.

“It is because of everyone's positive prayers that he has been pulled through and we have made sure to surround him with all the love and joy and hope so that he feels absolutely adored.

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“We make sure every day is great for him.”

Marie Clare has also heaped praise on staff at the hospital saying she blown away by the support from the staff.

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She explained: “Everybody at the hospital is behind Hector, the nurses, domestics, clerks, doctors, physios... it's like one big family.

“Some days have been so difficult. He's had drains coming out of his head and I've not been allowed to lift him but the care he has had at the hospital has been incredible.

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Pippa Johnston, director at Edinburgh Children's Hospital Charity, said: “Hector and his family are inspirational and have shown so much strength through an unimaginably difficult year.

“Hector is truly a hero in every sense of the word. Sadly the reality is that some families have to be in hospital over Christmas.

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“While we can't take away their pain, we can deliver happiness. Together with the NHS, we work hard to make sure families like Hector's don't miss out on the magic of the festive season.”

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