A dad helped a surgeon perform a life-saving operation on his helpless three-day-old “inside out” baby.
Jaxon Macdonald was born with his bowels on the outside of his body, meaning he needed urgent surgery to repair the hole in his abdominal wall.
Doctors asked if his dad Chris would help keep the child calm during the procedure, the Daily Record reports.
The 29-year-old, from Aberdeen, held his son’s hand and stroked his head as the surgeon coaxed the bowel back into place and closed the hole in his tummy.
The dad-of-one cried tears of relief when the 30-minute operation was over.
After the surgery he and his partner Shannen Innes were allowed to hug Jaxon for the first time since he was born.
Ten months on from his life-saving operation, Jaxon is a healthy and happy baby.
Chris said: “I was terrified throughout the whole thing but tried not to show it as my job was to keep Jaxon calm and let him know he was not alone.
“I just kept a hold of his little hand and kept stroking his head.
“I put sugar solution on my finger so he could suck it and that seemed to really help.
“He was howling his head off to begin with but soon calmed right down.
“He only had a local anaesthetic around the area they were working on so the poor soul was awake the whole time.
“He looked so tiny lying there but I knew he was in good hands with Mr Patel.
“Even though it was frightening, it was also fascinating watching what was happening and I will be forever amazed at what doctors can do.”
Neonatal surgeon Yatin Patel praised Chris for his calmness throughout the procedure and said he could come back and assist him any time.
The first-time dad’s heroics are one of the highlights of the new heartwarming series of The Children’s Hospital, which goes behind the scenes at the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital.
Chris, who works as a remotely operated vehicle technician, added: “The second Jaxon was born, he was whisked to the neonatal unit where his exposed bowel was put in a plastic bag or silo to keep it warm and moist.
“The bag with his intestines in it was then suspended above his body from a frame inside the incubator.
“Without the surgery, he would have died.
“During the operation, Mr Patel delicately squeezed the bowel, which was in the bag, back into place through the hole in Jaxon’s tummy.
“He then pulled the stitches he had made around the hole in his abdominal wall and the skin closed over the gap like a drawstring bag.
“He then flipped him over and corrected his tongue tie.
“It was all done in the neonatal unit as it is just as clean as the operating theatre and it meant they did not have to move him and risk damaging the bowel.
“It was incredible to see and he was so good throughout the whole thing but I was ever so glad it was over for the wee one’s sake.
“Shannen and I were so relieved and there were lots of tears.”
It was discovered that Jaxon had gastroschisis, which affects one in 3000 babies, at his mum’s 12-week scan.
It was clear from the ultrasound that his bowel was outside his body.
Shannen, 25, a personal fitness trainer, said: “He was so, so tiny but you could see plain as day that there was a defect in his tummy.
“We lived in Banff at the time and had gone for the routine scan at our local midwives’ unit but were immediately referred to the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital.
“Jaxon is our first baby and we worried constantly throughout the whole pregnancy.
“He was due on December 1, 2019, but he arrived on November 18, two weeks early, by emergency C-section, weighing 6lb 10oz.
“They put him in a bag and took him straight to the neonatal unit.
“They didn’t even show him to me so it was a couple of hours before I got my first glimpse of him lying in the incubator.”
Chris described the moment he first saw his son.
“They let me through when they were stitching Shannen up,” he said.
“He was howling as they were putting his insides into the plastic silo.
“It was unbearable and I didn’t know what to do with myself.
“Not long afterwards, the nurses came to fetch me and, when I went in, he was fast asleep. It just shows you how resilient babies are.”
Shannen, who part-owns a dance school, struggled not being able to hold her boy until after the operation.
She said: “They had to wait until he was three days old to do the surgery, which meant I could not hold him as his bowel needed to be suspended above him at all times.
“It was heartbreaking not being able to hold my baby.
“We could stroke him and touch him but all I wanted was to have him in my arms.
“I will never forget my first cuddle with him after the surgery. It was such a relief.
“I stood outside when the operation was taking place as I couldn’t bear to watch. Chris was very brave.”
Chris and Shannen, who plan to get married next September, say they will be forever indebted to the staff at the hospital.
Last year, Chris’s football team Banff Rovers raised more than £9000 for the neonatal unit by recording a charity Christmas song and the couple plan to do more fundraisers in the future.
Shannen said: “Jaxon was in hospital for two weeks and I cried every day.
“It’s not the start you picture having with your newborn but the doctors and nurses were all amazing and kept us going.
“We will never be able to repay them for saving Jaxon’s life and getting us through those first few anxious days.
“They went above and beyond.
“To look at Jaxon now, you would never know what he went through.
“He is a bundle of energy, a climber and just your typical boy.”