Baby Harley McLean, now aged 8 months, was born to proud parents Rachel Hales and Andrew McLean, both 25, after a difficult pregnancy during which mum bled heavily throughout - leading to fears she could miscarry at any time.
Harley was born during an emergency caesarian section after Rachel was rushed to Tameside Hospital after going into premature labour at just 28 weeks.
Rachel had hemorrhaged and needed to be delivered by emergency caesarean section, while little Harley was admitted to NICU.
The little fighter was on life support and contracted several infections which had to be treated with strong antibiotics but at 11 weeks old was discharged from Tameside Hospital and is now thriving.
Rachel said: “Harley is out little miracle and my consultant Dr Beth Hammersley is our guardian angel. I put all the faith I had into Beth because there was nothing else I could do.
“I would walk over hot coals for her. I truly believe if it wasn’t for her and her actions that we wouldn’t be here now.”
Rachel’s pregnancy with her eldest son went smoothly. However, her little boy Dylan was born at 26 weeks after her water’s broke early. Rachel and her then partner had to make the heartbreaking decision to turn off his life support after eight days.
Rachel then fell pregnant with little girl Kacey who was born at 22 weeks old and who lived for just four hours.
She then went on to have a further four miscarriages.
Rachel said: “After my little girl I had a really bad nervous breakdown and I don’t know how I carried on.
“It was horrendous. They were my children, my little babies.”
When Rachel fell pregnant again last year she felt ill immediately and at eight weeks began bleeding heavily.
Despite fears she had miscarried yet again her baby was found to be healthy at the 12 week scan.
Despite a battery of tests, Dr Hammersley has never been able to find out why Rachel has such difficult pregnancies but gave her fragmin injections to thin her blood as it was feared sticky blood may be damaging her placenta.
But at 16 weeks when Rachel was still bleeding she had to be admitted to Tameside Hospital where she was prescribed strict bed rest - missing her son’s birthday and Christmas.
Rachel said: “I was depressed; it was dragging me down and wearing me thin. I was going stir crazy but the nurses were amazing. They have become like a second family. They did everything they could to try to make it better for me.
At 23 weeks Rachel was given steroids and her spirits lifted knowing that at 24 weeks if her baby was born it had a better chance of surviving.
She was eventually discharged each weekend at 27 weeks as her bleeding eased but just two days later she collapsed on her bathroom floor.
She said: “There was just blood gushing everywhere. It was like something from a horror film. My little boy was crying and saying his brother and mum were going to die.
“I was then rushed to Tameside Hospital where Harley was born shortly after.
Rachel added: “I feel so lucky to have him - he’s our golden boy. The care we have received from Tameside Hospital, all the medical team, the midwives and everyone in NICU has been amazing. I couldn’t fault them.”
Dr Beth Hammersley, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, said: “I met Rachel and Andrew for the first time in this pregnancy and we have been through something of a roller-coaster ride together.
“I first scanned Harley when he was a tiny 6 week embryo and was in theatre when he delivered, small but very loud.
“Rachel was a model patient who did everything we asked of her, including staying in hospital over Christmas and New Year and for her birthday.”
Dr Hammersley added: “This was a real Tameside team effort with obstetricians, midwives and the neo-natal unit coming together and this time getting the right result with a lovely little boy to complete Rachel and Andrew’s family.”