Premature baby born three months early was saved by bubble wrap

Doctors wrapped Marleigh in bubble wrap to keep him warm [Photo: SWNS]
Doctors wrapped Marleigh in bubble wrap to keep him warm [Photo: SWNS]

A premature baby born 13 weeks early was so tiny doctors kept him alive by using bubble wrap to keep him warm.

Little Marleigh Bleu Brooker weighed just 1lb 13oz when he arrived at 27 weeks - more than three months early - on Mother's Day - 11th March 2018.

Doctors told his worried parents Marleigh's chances of survival were slim, but immediately placed the newborn in a sandwich bag, which mimicked the womb, before wrapping him in bubble wrap to insulate him and protect his delicate skin.

Having spent nine months in hospital, and now aged 15 months, his parents say Marleigh is thriving.

Mum, Paige Worthington-Mort, 22, experienced a textbook pregnancy, but problems started to develop in the latter stages.

"During my pregnancy I suffered from pre-eclampsia which lead to HELLP syndrome (a life-threatening pregnancy complication usually considered to be a variant of preeclampsia) and I was told if Marleigh was left for another 24 hours - and hadn't been born via emergency c-section - both me and him would have died,” Paige revealed.

"Even when he arrived, the fight wasn't over as he was so small and sick - you could almost see through his thin skin and he was as long as my hand.”

READ MORE: Baby born without skin on almost his entire body defies doctors odds to survive

Marleigh was born weighing just 1lb 13oz when he was born [Photo: SWNS]
Marleigh was born weighing just 1lb 13oz when he was born [Photo: SWNS]

Though the couple were allowed to touch their baby in the first 24 hours it was a month before they could hold him.

"We were scared we were going to lose him and doctors warned us we might not make it,” Paige reveals.

"We had a naming ceremony and gathered all of our family together to meet him - but also to potentially say goodbye at the same time.

"Thankfully, despite all that was thrown at him, he got stronger with each day and now he's doing so well. He's a little miracle."

Paige, a support worker for adults with learning disabilities, and her partner, Jason Brooker, 28, a machine setter, said her pregnancy had been smooth sailing until she was about five months pregnant.

"Everything was fine in all scans and tests,” she said.

"We were delighted to discover we were having a boy.

"But I started to swell up really early around 19 weeks and at 24 weeks my mum made me go to the doctors as I wasn't that far along, but I didn’t fit in any of my clothes as I was so huge.

"My feet where too fat to fit in any pair of shoes so I was walking around in slippers. I had to wear a size 9 - I’m normally a size 5."

The doctor examined Paige and told her she had developed pre-eclampsia - a condition that affects some pregnant women which results in high-blood pressure and swelling and which can prove fatal if not monitored or treated.

"I didn’t realise how serious it was, but they said I couldn't leave hospital until my blood pressure was under control."

By the end of the third week Paige was told her condition was so serious her baby would need to be delivered early and she was taken from hospital in Cornwall to one in Devon.

When she arrived, medics performed tests which showed she had developed HELLP syndrome - a life-threatening pregnancy condition often triggered by pre-eclampsia.

"I was told my body was shutting down and he needed to come out 'now'."

READ MORE: Couple stranded in Singapore with premature baby share images holding their son for the first time

Marleigh stayed in hospital for 9 months [Photo: SWNS]
Marleigh stayed in hospital for 9 months [Photo: SWNS]

Marleigh arrived at 7.53pm and was whisked straight to neo-natal care.

"I didn't get to see or hold him. I could only look at pictures that my mum had taken of him,” she reveals.

The following day Marleigh was taken to theatre to be ventilated and though the procedure was successful when he returned to the ward the newborn was so cold his condition deteriorated dramatically.

"He was constantly in bubble wrap - but they put more layers on him to try and keep him at a good temperature,” Paige explains.

Worried they may lose their newborn son, the couple urged relatives to come and say their goodbyes.

They were told Marleigh had Pierre Robin sequence, a set of abnormalities affecting the head and face.

But despite suffering a number or set backs, Marleigh was eventually allowed home nine months later, a week before Christmas.

During his time on the ward Marleigh underwent eight blood transfusions and suffered two small bleeds on the brain, two hernias, an open duct in his heart and also sepsis.

Another complication was Marleigh's collapsed lungs and unstable airway. The tot was given a tracheostomy tube to help him breathe.

"Over his time his ventilator setting has gradually come down and he is now just on a small about of pressure and oxygen at home, he is completely dependant on it so everywhere we go it comes with us,” Paige explains.

Little Marleigh is now 15 months and thriving, pictured here with his mum Paige [Photo: SWNS]
Little Marleigh is now 15 months and thriving, pictured here with his mum Paige [Photo: SWNS]

Despite his difficult start to life, the little boy has come on leaps and bounds.

"No matter what's been thrown at him, he has always bounced back,” Paige said.

"He amazing - he is the happiest baby I’ve met, he barely ever cries and just wants lots of love and attention.”

Paige went on to reveal that that the tot has started to pull himself up to sit up and even though he’s a little unsteady is constantly on the move.

"He’s very determined to do things and because of that he’s improving day-by-day and making great progress,” she said.

"I feel like the proudest mum, he has proved so many people wrong and overcome the most difficult things."

Additional reporting SWNS