09/04/2015 20:15 BST | Updated 09/06/2015 10:12 BST

Hospital's Smallest Ever Baby Celebrates First Birthday


A premature baby who weighed just 1lb 3oz when he was born is about to celebrate his first birthday.

Benjamin Astbury was the smallest baby ever born at Wrexham Maelor Hospital after arriving 12 weeks early.

He was given a one in 10 chance of surviving after suffering five cardiac arrests.

His mum and dad Taniya and Steve were told on several occasions he would not have the strength to overcome his health problems.

But he has defied expectations and now weighs a healthy 13lbs. And his family are now looking forward to his first birthday on April 15.

Taniya, 36, from Buckley, North Wales, told her local paper: "There are times when my husband Steven and I have been absolutely distraught.

"But miracles do happen and we are absolutely over the moon.

"Benjamin is doing really well at the moment and we are coming up to his first birthday despite having been told a number of times he wouldn't make it.

"He was so tiny when he was born and one of the nurses said he was the smallest she had ever seen in her 16 years at the hospital.

"But he is definitely a fighter - he has already been through so much."


At the time of his birth Benjamin was given just a 10 per cent chance of survival.

He spent his first days in the Maelor's Special Care Baby Unit before being transferred to Liverpool Women's Hospital.

He was diagnosed with necrotizing enterocolitis, a condition where portions of the bowel undergo tissue death. It is one of the most common causes of mortality in premature infants.

Benjamin was put on a ventilator, but a C-reactive protein infection marker test - which checks for levels of inflammation and infection in the body - showed a score of 324.

A good score is considered as less than four.

He underwent emergency surgery at Liverpool's Alder Hey Hospital, which left him with two stomas - openings on the abdomen which allow waste to leave the body.

However, his condition deteriorated and he was put into a paralysed state before being hooked up to an oscillator which shook his body for six days in order to relieve pressure from his lungs.

Taniya said: "It was really horrible to see. He was given steroids and he pulled through again but in September, after a reversal of the stomas, he began having breathing problems."

The problem, laryngospasms, caused a partial blocking of the airways when breathing in.

His mum said: "Just touching him or changing his nappy could turn him blue."

"Benjamin had another emergency operation on his bowel but he also had five cardiac arrests in this period up until Christmas which was very frightening but again, he has come through them."

Now at home, Benjamin will still have to endure further operations, but Taniya said: "To see him get close to his first birthday after everything that has happened is amazing.

"We are so proud of him and in awe of him we hope he can be an inspiration to others."