Tiny Lewis Hepburn, who has spent the first 10 weeks of his life in hospital, has come home for Christmas.
Proud mum Bella said she was not sure if her “little fighter” would be able to spend the festive season at home after he arrived almost 12 weeks earlier than planned.
Bella, from Perth, was due to give birth in the first days of the new year.
However, when the 32-year-old fell ill with e-coli, her son made a surprise appearance on October 13, weighing just 2lb 4oz.
After a turbulent 10 weeks, Lewis has impressed doctors with his progress and was formally discharged from Ninewells on Monday.
“It just feels so surreal,” said Bella. “I’m so glad he’s home for Christmas, but it has been such a strange time.”
Bella went to Ninewells in October after an early indication her baby may be on his way. She was just 28 weeks pregnant at the time.
“I went along on the Saturday and they kept me in for checks.
“They were going to release me on the Monday, but they decided to keep me in for a bit longer. Lewis arrived on the Tuesday.”
She said: “It was a huge surprise to everyone, especially me. Everything I had planned for the pregnancy and the birth was just turned on its head.
“We had all the baby things we needed at home, we just hadn’t put them together because we thought there would be plenty of time for that.”
She said: “They found that I had e-coli and it had got onto the placenta and that’s what triggered the early birth. I don’t remember feeling ill at the time.”
Bella stayed with little Lewis at Ninewells but was discharged after two weeks.
“Having to leave him in hospital really broke me,” she said.
Since then, she has been travelling to and from her home in the Friarton area of Perth.
“The family helped us out with all the travelling,” she said.
“We were able to get a lift in with one relative, and someone else came to drive us home.
“Apart from the staff at the hospital, Lewis has only met me and his dad. My mum will get to see him for the first time when she comes round on Christmas Day.”
Bella said: “It was touch and go whether he would get out of hospital in time.
“He was given tests that they usually give to babies at 12 weeks but with premature babies, they give them at eight.
“They noticed a dip in his health, because he had a flu as well. We had to monitor him really closely after that and we didn’t know if he would be able to come home or not.
“But thankfully, he came on leaps and bounds. He’s definitely a wee fighter.”
Dad Lewis decorated the flat in time for his son’s arrival. “We’re really looking forward to spending the day together,” said Bella.
“It will be a nice way to end such a surreal time.”