Freddy Cooke with parents, Dan and Nicky. Picture by Laura Holme.
WHEN little Freddy Cooke was born he did not breathe for some 20 minutes — an agonising wait for his parents, who feared their newborn son would suffer irreparable brain damage if, indeed, he survived at all.
But thanks to a pioneering cooling treatment, Freddy not only lived, he positively thrived. He is now a happy, healthy ten month old, whose cheeky smile means the world to parents, Daniel Cooke and Nicky Symmonds.
"Giving birth was terrifying," said Nicky, 29.
"I think I’ve blocked out the most harrowing parts but I remember the feeling of panic setting in. Freddy showed no signs of life when he was born and I was hysterical. I kept screaming I didn’t want my baby to die.
"It seems impossible but you would never know he had such a traumatic start. He is full of smiles, with such a love for life.
"I’m so proud he has come through it. He is such a perfect little boy — our miracle baby."
Speaking from the home at St John’s Road, Newport, she shares with Pizza Hut manager Daniel, 28, and Freddy, home carer Nicky said she was determined to raise awareness about the pioneering treatment Freddy received at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford.
The couple were living in Reading at the time and Freddy was rushed to the hospital after the home birth.
He was wrapped in a cold blanket for 72 hours. His temperature was brought down from 98 to 91 degrees to reduce the swelling around his brain and prevent him from suffering brain damage, which can happen with oxygen-deprived newborns.
Along with a team of like-minded friends, Nicky hopes to raise enough money to donate cooling equipment to Southampton General Hospital, where the most poorly Isle of Wight babies are treated.
Their Facebook page — Freddy’s Page to Raise Awareness — has more than 1,600 likes, and they are holding a fundraiser at the William Coppin and Pizza Hut tomorrow (Saturday). There will be a DJ, magicians, face painting, a bouncy castle and ice cream van, plus a big raffle.