The mother of a baby boy born at just over 26 weeks has recalled the “emotional rollercoaster” that she and her partner experienced as their premature son battled for his life in hospital while she dealt with her own health concerns.

Baby Charlie Richard Thomas Moore was born at 26 weeks and five days on October 15, 2020 to Rebecca Benson and Marc Moore from Maguiresbridge.

After 97 days in hospital, Charlie was able to go home to his parents on his original due date of January 20.

Speaking to The Impartial Reporter this week, Rebecca described Charlie as an “absolute miracle” as she shared her “terrifying” experience of going into labour prematurely and the uncertainty of whether her baby boy would survive.

On the morning of October 14, Rebecca had been at work but came home as she felt unwell. She told her partner Marc, who was spreading slurry at the time, and he advised her to go to bed.

“I was halfway up the stairs when my waters went,” said Rebecca, noting how she went straight to the South West Acute Hospital (SWAH) in Enniskillen.

“I was only allowed in the SWAH by myself; [it was] the most terrifying experience ever. I didn’t have a clue what was going on.

“They examined me and told me, ‘You’re in labour’,” she said, adding: “I have to thank the SWAH – they did let Marc in to me when they realised that I was going into labour.”

Rebecca was then rushed to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.

“I was up in the Royal all day and then my contractions started,” she said, explaining that she had been given an injection to prolong her labour.

“They thought they might be able to stop it, but no, Charlie was coming,” she said.

At 10.45pm that night, Charlie was born.

“It was the most horrific experience ever, just because he was coming so early,” said Rebecca, who was again thankful that Marc was allowed to be with her.

“I have to hand it to the Royal – Marc never left my side; they allowed Marc to stay in the whole time with me.”

As soon as Charlie was born, he was whisked away to the hospital’s neo-natal unit.

“Before he was born, we were told he could be stillborn, that he could come out and he might need ventilation, and his survival rate was very minimum basically because he was a 26-weeker,” said Rebecca, going on to explain that when Charlie was born, he was surrounded by doctors and nurses.

“He came out and he let a cry out of him, we couldn’t believe it,” she said, adding: “He was on the table and he didn’t need any ventilation whatsoever; he was put on a CPAP machine to keep his airways open.”

On day five, Charlie was transferred to the neo-natal at Altnagelvin Hospital, but on day nine he deteriorated very quickly.

“He needed to be ventilated. I remember getting the phone call at 4.30am. We were told to get up straight away because his survival was [looking] very minimal,” said Rebecca.

Thankfully, Charlie started to improve that night, but he later caught an infection and required CPR.

“He was CPRd on twice and the second time they lost him for seven minutes,” recalled Rebecca of the traumatic time.

“He then was ventilated straight after,” said Rebecca, who went on to explain that Charlie required CPR a third time, and again required ventilation afterwards.

“He was prone to infections; his wee body just couldn’t fight them,” she said.

Amidst her worries about Charlie, Rebecca was also dealing with her own health concerns.

“I got Covid, because I had problems with my gallbladder and I was in and out of hospital like a yo-yo,” she said, adding: “We had to spend 10 days away from Charlie, and self-isolate.

“It was the most horrific time of my life; it was awful.

“Altnagelvin were great. They let us Facetime Charlie; it was lovely but those 10 days were awful.”

However, during this time Charlie made great progress, and was taken off CPAP.

He was later transferred to the SWAH, where he spent two weeks before he was able to go home.

“Charlie came home on his due date and I had my gallbladder out on the Monday; he came home on the Wednesday.

“So it’s been an emotional rollercoaster, but he’s here and he’s an absolute miracle – he’s come home with no oxygen, no tube feeds, he’s a perfectly healthy baby now. He’s just a miracle,” said a delighted Rebecca.

Grateful for the exceptional care that the neo-natal unit at Altnagelvin Hospital gave to their son, Rebecca and Marc are fundraising for the unit.

Accompanied by their family and friends, the couple plan to climb the ‘Stairway to Heaven’ at Cuilcagh Mountain on July 18.

Donations for this fundraiser can be made via

“It would be greatly appreciated, to have any donation to give to this fantastic unit, [that] let me bring my little best friend home,” said Rebecca.