A Lanarkshire mum forced to perform CPR on her five-week-old baby after he suddenly stopped breathing, is urging other parents to learn vital first aid skills.
Stephanie Bain and partner Gary Ferguson, from Caldercruix, welcomed little Finlay into the world three weeks early in November after concerns were raised about his leg growth.
But apart from a mild case of jaundice, the 5lb 6oz baby appeared healthy and was sent home from Wishaw General with his 29-year-old mum just two days later.
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However, the family’s world turned upside down on December 28, when Finlay suddenly stopped breathing in his cot.
Stephanie, a mum-of-four, began giving mouth-to-mouth and called for an ambulance – with a call handler telling her how to do chest compressions over the phone.
The youngster was rushed to Monklands Hospital, Airdrie, where he was stabilised, but stopped breathing a second time while being transferred by ambulance to the Wishaw General.
Medics found he was in a critical condition with bronchitis and COVID, which have ravaged his tiny body due to his lungs being underdeveloped.
Stephanie has now issued her heartfelt thanks to all those who helped save her son’s life and has urged all new parents to consider learning CPR.
She said: “If it wasn’t for the ambulance call handler, paramedics and all the hospital staff, our son probably wouldn’t be here. I cannot thank them enough.
“Neither me or my partner knew how to do CPR on a baby. I did the mouth-to-mouth, which I think I’d seen on TV, but I didn’t realise you had to do the chest massage with your fingers.
“The staff at Wishaw General wouldn’t let us leave until we had watched a video on YouTube on how to do it and paperwork about what to do if it happened again.
“Parents should definitely learn how to do it because you never know when you might need it. I’ve had four children now and I’ve never experienced anything like it before.”
After a difficult 14 hour labour and emergency C-section, Stephanie and partner Gary were relieved to get little Finlay home.
But they had concerns about his breathing and noticed he occasionally appeared to be ‘gasping’ for air.
Recalling that terrifying morning, Stephanie said: “I’d fed him and had put him down in his next-to- me cot. I’d gone downstairs when I heard my partner screaming my name.
“I jumped up the stairs and Gary was holding him up and when I looked, Finlay was just white with purple lips. He was limp and had no pulse. I took him and started breathing into his mouth, but he wasn’t coming round while my partner ran to get my mum, who works at the hospital.
“I phoned the ambulance and the call handler started telling me how to do baby CPR over the phone. He started making noises from his chest, but he wasn’t coming completely round. He was still limp and didn’t have a strong pulse.
“I wrapped him in a housecoat and started running to my mum’s house. She took over and started working on him. The ambulance crew arrived within 12 minutes and had him hooked up to the monitors and fully round about half an hour later.
“They stayed with us the full time at Monklands until the doctors decided he needed to be blue-lighted to the Wishaw General. When we were on our way, the monitor started going off and he stopped breathing.
“The driver slammed the brakes on and they immediately started working on him.
“They brought him back around three minutes later. A doctor’s car was behind us and he had come into the back of the ambulance to help. Within minutes of arriving at Wishaw, there was a bed waiting for Finlay with five doctors standing waiting for him.
“His heart kept dropping and they told us to get ready to say our goodbyes because they weren’t sure he was going to pull through in the next 12 hours. But then he started to do better.
“He was in ICU for around eight hours and then moved round to another ward to a room on his own. The staff were hands on constantly. They were always checking on him and there was a nurse outside the door for him.
“The doctors were so busy but they were there every two hours, checking him over. To start with they said it was bronchitis and then they did a covid test which came back positive.
“They then realised that his wee lungs weren’t fully developed and the infections had gone into his lungs which was shutting down his system.”
Finlay spent three nights in hospital before being allowed home, where he is continuing to recover surrounded by his doting siblings.
Stephanie added: “Gary and I are both surprised that he made it given everything he went through.
“Even though we’re out of the hospital now, we’ve still got his sensory mats and are constantly checking on him. He’s doing a lot better than he was. He’s still not 100 per cent yet.”
Amy Farquhar, Scottish Ambulance Service ACC call handler based at the Service’s East ACC, said: “It’s so lovely to hear Findlay is doing well.
“I’m so glad I was able to help mum in such a distressing time for the family and I really appreciate the feedback.”
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