IT'S a day they thought they might never see – taking their beloved son Joshua home for the first time.

He was born at 28 weeks weighing just 1lb 6oz and suffered a catalogue of health problems.

But now, five months later, mum and dad Chelsey and TJ have told of their relief at Joshua coming home.

Chelsey said: "We’re so proud of Joshua. He is our miracle, and he is so strong and determined – we just love him so much.”

Joshua was born at John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, where Chelsey had an emergency C-section.

Recalling his premature birth, Chelsey said: “It was a crazy day.”

“I was having a ECG to check the baby’s heart rate, and the doctor just said to me ‘the baby’s coming today. He’s starting to struggle but at the moment there’s a 75 per cent chance he will survive. If we wait until tomorrow that goes down to 25 per cent’.

“I just thought the doctor was joking, to be honest. He asked me if I’d been starved, and I just remember thinking that is a weird question to ask.”

If Chelsey, who lives in Coate, Swindon, had eaten breakfast, she would have to wait longer before the emergency caesarean.

“At the time you just go with it,” said TJ, Joshua’s dad. “Everything happens so fast.”

The couple’s first child was born inside the amniotic sac.

TJ was able to go straight into intensive care with Joshua.

“I had to wait until I was able to get into a chair before I could go and see him,” said Chelsey. “So it was about three hours until I could use my legs. It was quite difficult.”

“From there, that was when it really started to get pretty close,” said TJ.

Joshua spent his first two days on a ventilator before developing a serious lung infection. He spent the next five weeks in intensive care at JRH.

“We were worried he wouldn’t have the strength to fight it off being so little,” said TJ

“At the time you don’t really think about it, you’re just in such a bubble,” added Chelsey.

“There were times in Oxford when you would be around babies who did sadly die.

“I don’t think it really hit us just how dangerous the situation was,” she added.

“You just feel so helpless,” said TJ. “It’s not nice seeing him connected up to all the wires with the beeping from all the machines.”

From the scan at 20 weeks into the pregnancy, Joshua was showing signs he was not growing as he should. Then at 27 weeks Chelsey was taken into hospital with suspected pre-eclampsia.

“For Chelsey it did take some of the enjoyment and excitement out of being pregnant,” said TJ.

“All the things that would be normal she wasn’t able to do, she didn’t have a baby shower for example. We spent a lot of time worrying about check-ups and scans.”

At five weeks old Joshua was transferred to the Special Care Baby Unit at the Great Western Hospital, before going to St Michael’s Hospital in Bristol at 15 weeks old.

There he had for surgery on his eyes and an operation to correct two hernias.

“It has all been rather draining,” said TJ.

The couple stayed in several charity houses in Oxford and Bristol so they would be able to visit Joshua everyday.

“We had 18 weeks of stressing and worrying rather than just enjoying all the nice moments,” added TJ.

“And lots of the first milestones, like the first bath happened in hospital.”

At 17 weeks old Joshua was brought back to the paediatric ward in the GWH for a week before going home.

“It’s just such a relief and so lovely to have him home with us,” said TJ. “It’s just nice to be able to do the normal stuff around the house.”

“When you’re not with him you spend all your time worrying about him, whereas now we’re always with him it is easier,” said Chelsey.

Joshua is still on oxygen at home and has a feeding tube for any food he doesn’t want to take orally.

“It’s just something we have to get used to,” said Chelsey.