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Cuddle Your Child as He May Not Survive

Rachel and Daniel Taplin never thought they would be lucky enough to take pictures of their toddler son sitting under the Christmas tree after they were told to ‘give him a final cuddle – he won’t survive’ when he was just a week old.

Oliver was born two years ago weighing in at a healthy 6lbs 12oz but seven days later he had to be rushed to hospital after he had stopped breathing and needed to be resuscitated.

A blood clot was found on his brain and he was given less than a 5 per cent survival chance after suffering extensive brain damage which caused cerebral palsy and his parents were told that Oliver’s ability to speak would be affected as would his balance and movements.

Happy to have their son alive Rachel and Daniel saw his survival against all odds as a ‘message of hope’.

Mum Rachel still recalls the time she was told that Oliver might die and said: 'When someone is saying those words to you; you think that's it - you've lost your baby.

'When we went to give him what we thought was the last cuddle he had 16 wires sticking out of his tiny body so we couldn't even cuddle him properly.

'The doctors picked him off his bed and put him on a pillow in our laps. That moment was truly awful.'

Fluid caused by the blood clot was being blocked from circulating through the brain paths and pressure was building up.  After surgery and removal of the clot Oliver’s parents could only sit and wait while blood-thinning drugs were administered to their baby boy.

Memories of a nurse saying ‘Children defy the odds all the time’ flood back to Rachel who went on to say 'At the time I just thought she was saying it to make me feel better. But she was right. Children can defy the odds - Oliver wasn't even 7lb, and only a week old and he was fighting.

Taking Oliver home they knew life would not be easy for him after they were told by doctors that he would not be the same child they had taken home from the hospital shortly after his birth.

More Surgery for Fighter Oliver

Just one year later on Boxing Day Oliver suffered a fit and was rushed to hospital where after undergoing tests he was diagnosed with hydrocephalus (water on the brain) and survived a further three bouts of emergency surgery.

The family found themselves confined to the hospital after Oliver developed an infection and surgery had to be postponed.

 'It was far worse being in hospital when Oliver was 18 months and more aware of what was going on,' said Rachel. 'He was looking at the doctors as if to say, "Why are you doing this to me?".

A Real Family Christmas at Home

This Christmas has been the first time they have been able to enjoy the festivities at home as a complete family and they were determined to make it an extra special one.

Rachel said “If I could wish for anything, it would be that Oliver hadn't had to suffer as much as he has. But more than anything, I am glad my miracle little boy is with us this Christmas.'

Cerebral palsy means Oliver has a low muscle tone and extensive physiotherapy is needed to help build up his strength.  In time Rachel and Daniel are hoping Oliver may learn to walk and even speak and every day they count themselves lucky that their baby son was a fighter and pulled through to still be with them.