A YEAR ago Toby Dring’s mum was told to prepare for the worst as he became the youngest person to undergo heart surgery at less than a day old.
But against the odds, brave tot Toby celebrates his first birthday tomorrow – a day mum Sophie (25) feared she might never see.
The milestone marks a major fightback from Toby, born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome.
It is a condition where the left side of the heart fails to develop properly and affects just one in 5000 babies.
Later today he will enjoy a party with family, friends and playmates from his playgroup at the Evangelical Church, complete with plenty of presents and a cake featuring Toby the train from Thomas the Tank Engine.
Sophie, of Upgang Lane, told the Gazette: “This is a major milestone for me and for Toby - to get told he wouldn’t survive and then to get to his first birthday.
“It will probably be quite emotional and he is getting very spoiled.
“I have been to the end of the earth to get a swing for his birthday present.”
Despite the chances he might not make it through the operation, carried out at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital, Sophie knew she had to go through with it, especially after being advised to terminate her pregnancy when she discovered Toby’s condition at 20 weeks.
She added: “They did not want him to go through with it because the chances were very low but at Newcastle it was a totally different story, they were very positive.
“I didn’t know whether he was going to live and I felt guilty for putting him through it but it was up to him. If he didn’t want to pull through he wouldn’t, but if he wanted to he would.”
It has been a tough year for the family with Toby having to have a second operation in December and him spending his first Christmas in hospital.
But despite been left with a scar on his chest, daily medication and the prospect of more surgery and possibly a heart transplant when he is older, Toby is just like any other happy baby.
Sophie added: “The hospital made Christmas really special with a Christmas dinner but it was hospital food so we are classing this Christmas as his first.
“He is really happy, just a normal baby. You don’t realise until you have to give him his medication.
“If my friend undresses her baby in front of me, I think ‘oh, he hasn’t got a scar’. It is just normal to me.”