A couple are looking forward to celebrating their first Christmas with their 'miracle' baby who was born so small he fit in the palm of his mother's hand.
Lucy Knight, 29, went into labour on July 12 - 13 weeks before her October 12 due date - with her boyfriend Dean Glover, 27, being forced to deliver their son Eli on their bathroom floor.
Eli, who weighed just 1lbs 8oz (846g), nearly died several times after he suffered two brain bleeds in the first two weeks of his life.
Despite pulling through, doctors warned Eli, of Ilminster, Somerset, would be permanently brain damaged and wheelchair bound for the rest of his life.
But the brain bleeds got reabsorbed without treatment, with medics believing the now five-month-old will live a normal, healthy life.
Mr Glover, who works in a supermarket, delivered Eli while being given instructions from doctors over the phone.
Speaking of the birth, Ms Knight said: 'I didn't know I was in labour at first.
'I went to hospital the day before and had stomach pains but I thought I was having a stomach bug. But the following morning I went to the loo and felt his head move.
'I was petrified. I kept saying it was too early, I couldn't look, I thought he was going to be born dead. Remarkably though, he was born crying.'
Paramedics arrived shortly after and rushed Eli to hospital. Doctors quickly warned the new parents their son may not make it.
After defying the odds to survive, medics then discovered he was bleeding in two parts of the brain and would inevitably have severe damage.
'Eli was tiny, he could fit in your hand he was so small,' Ms Knight, a full-time mother, said. 'He didn't look real.'
'For the first two weeks of his life we thought he was going to die. There were four or five times where we thought he wasn't going to make it.'
But Eli's body reabsorbed the brain bleeds without the youngster requiring treatment.
He then underwent two lumbar punctures - involves inserting a hollow needle between the bones of the spinal cord to collect fluid - which confirmed he was no longer bleeding.
Miraculously, doctors told Eli's parents he had no apparent brain damage and, after 11 weeks in hospital, the youngster was finally able to go home in October.
'He's nothing short of a miracle,' Ms Knight said. 'Eli will be five months old this Christmas and it's going to be magical to have him at home this year.'
Mr Glover added: 'It means everything to us to have Eli home for Christmas. We weren't sure if he was going to be here and it'll be amazing that he's here with his family and not in hospital.
'It's going to be the best Christmas ever. Christmas is always special, but this year will be even more so after what happened.'
The couple are sharing their story to give hope to other parents in similar situations.
'Last Christmas it was just Dean and I, and now there's three of us, it's mad,' Ms Knight said.
'We said last New Year's Eve "I wonder what we'll be doing this time next year", but we never imagined we'd have a baby just a few months later.'
Source: The Daily Mail
Photos: @Caters News Agency