Heartbreaking moment a man who was taken critically ill as his wife was due to give birth met his newborn son – not knowing if he would live or die
A man who fell critically ill just as his wife was due to give birth has told of the emotional moment that he saw his newborn son for the first time not knowing if the meeting would be their last.
Tears of joy rolled down the face of Justin Miller when he first set eyes on his new son Ben.
The 34-year-old was so weak that he was unable to hold his Ben, so nurses put a pillow across his knees and lay the baby on him.
Mr Miller, from Northampton, had been looking forward to the arrival of his second baby with his wife Julie when he was struck down with what he thought was flu.
But his condition deteriorated and he was rushed to hospital, where he was diagnosed with the life-threatening Guillain-Barre syndrome, which attacks the nervous system.
Two days later Mrs Miller went into labour and was admitted to the same hospital, just yards from the intensive care ward where her husband was fighting for his life.
Mrs Miller said: ‘It was heartbreaking because he was supposed to be my birthing partner, instead my mum had to film it for him, hoping that one day he would be well enough to watch it.
‘It was bittersweet to know he was so close when he his son was being born yet he was too ill to be there.’
Mr Miller learned he was the father of a new baby boy called Ben when Mrs Miller sent him a text following the birth on March 13 this year.
An hour later, kind hearted nurses carefully transported Mr Miller in a wheelchair from his bed to the maternity wing.
With his facial muscles paralysed he was unable to smile but tears of joy rolled down his face as he held his son for the first time.
Mr Miller said: ‘I didn’t know if I would live or die or spend the rest of my life paralysed, but for that moment all that mattered was seeing my son.
‘I was so happy to get the chance to meet him even if I wasn’t able to smile.’
He added: ‘Of course it was devastating to miss the birth but I will be forever grateful to the wonderful nurses who took it upon themselves to take me to the maternity ward to meet him.’
Mrs Miller said: ‘When I saw him in the doorway I burst into tears. The fact he made it to the delivery room at all under the circumstances was incredible.
‘I was so moved that the staff could be so kind. It meant so much to us.
‘We were all crying because at that point nobody knew what the future had in store for Justin. I didn’t know if that would be the first and last time he met his dad.
‘It was heartbreaking but joyous all at once. I didn’t know if I should smile or cry so I did both.’
But the meeting was broken up after just a few minutes when Mr Miller was taken back to the intensive care unit.
His wife and son were later discharged, both with a clean bill of health.
Mrs Miller said: ‘ It was hard going home without him but the good news was his condition was improving so we had a lot to be grateful for.’
She visited her husband every day with new pictures and videos of their son and daughter Amy, three, determined that he would not miss out on those precious first few days of Ben’s life.
And slowly his condition began to improve. After three weeks Mr Miller was moved to a rehabilitation unit.
Mrs Miller said: ‘It was ironic because he was learning to walk and talk all over again while our son was doing the same.’
Then the day came that Mr Miller was able to hold his son again for the first time since the birth.
Mrs Miller said: ‘This time he was stronger and could cradle him and smile. It was a fantastic moment.’
He was also able to see daughter Amy for the first time in weeks too, but it was another three months before he was allowed home.
And while doctors predicted a slow recovery, he stunned them by returning to work as a delivery driver weeks later.
Mrs Miller said: ‘People started calling him superman because he recovered so quickly but we call him superdad.
‘He is our hero and we are so proud.’
Mr Miller added: ‘I worked so hard in the rehab unit knowing my family were waiting for me at home. It’s wonderful to be a family again.’
For more information about the condition visit www.gbs.org.uk