A regional editor has named his ‘miracle’ baby after the local hospital where he is leading a campaign to save its maternity services.
The Redditch Standard is currently leading the fight to save the town’s Alexandra Hospital – known locally as The Alex.
Its editor Ian Dipple has now named his baby son Alex after the hospital, where his wife Liz works as a midwife.
The little boy faced a battle for his life after a placental abruption meant it became a race against time to deliver him safely.
The new-born had already faced bigger challenges than most even before his birth as the Dipples were told just eight weeks into Liz’s pregnancy he had no heartbeat. However after seeking a second opinion at the Alex they were told he was still alive.
Although he had been due to be born in the Worcestershire hospital,, he was actually delivered 160 miles away from home in Ipswich where the family were on holiday at the time.
Said Ian, 32: “The ambulance journey was the most horrendous thing I’ve ever experienced in my life because you know blood is never a good sign.
“We both thought we’d lost him.”
At the hospital, the midwives found a heartbeat but the couple faced another agonising wait to confirm whether Alex was still alive. After confirming he was, doctors agreed to induce labour the following day but his heartbeat suddenly crashed hours later and Liz suffered another massive bleed.
That meant they were rushed into theatre for an emergency Caesarean section. When he was born the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck three times so there was a delay of 30 seconds before he made a sound and the couple again thought they might have lost their son.
Ian, who began his newspaper career at the Standard in 2003 and took over as editor four years ago, said: “It was the longest 30 seconds of my life, it felt like hours.
“He didn’t make any noise and both of us were looking at each other thinking please not now at the very end.
“Then he made a little cry – I can’t describe the feeling, it was a mixture of relief and joy and excitement and everything all together.
“Without the team in Ipswich, I could have lost my son and my wife. I don’t really have the words to say thank you to them.”
After being kept in for five days, the Dipples were allowed home to Redditch but were admitted to the Alex for two days to deal with baby Alex’s jaundice. However, he is now back at home and doing well.
And Ian said it showed the importance of keeping local NHS maternity services open.
“In a different set of circumstances – if we were travelling home or if Ipswich had been downgraded and the nearest hospital was miles away, there is a very good chance the outcome might have been different.
“He is a miracle in every sense of the word – we thought he was dead at eight weeks and he’s an IVF baby which is a miracle in itself.
“We called him Alex in tribute to the staff who found him alive and looked after him all the way through. Then when he wasn’t born there we thought we can’t make Ipswich work, so we’ll have to stick with Alex.”