Swine flu victim David Knight, whose family were told he would die, has told of his joy at seeing the baby daughter he feared he wouldn’t live to see.
But after more than two months in hospital, the 29-year-old has made a miraculous recovery and proudly held his precious baby daughter Abigail in his arms, after his fiancee Gail Hudson gave birth on Tuesday.
Mr Knight, of Connemara Close, Westbury, spoke of his delight at the birth of his 7lb 9oz daughter, the couple’s first child, at the Royal United Hospital in Bath.
He said he was shocked to learn from his family how close he had been to death.
He said: “The first I knew how serious it was, was when I woke up in intensive care and they explained what had happened to me.
“I only thought I had a water infection and all this has happened to me.
“The last thing I remember was being taken off by the ambulance men and I told Gail to lock the door and phone my mum.”
He added: “I’m now just trying to get used to being a dad.
“It’s exciting and challenging at the same time. The grandparents are over the moon.”
Fiancee Miss Hudson, who was five-months pregnant when he was struck down with swine flu following an emergency operation to remove his colon in October, said: “I did think there might be the possibility I would be a single mum.
“But I just had to get on with it. I couldn’t mope around. I had to believe that he was going to get better.
“I kept reminding him that he had a little one on the way so he had to pull through.”
After being diagnosed with a severe form of swine flu, Mr Knight was airlifted from the RUH to Glenfield Hospital in Leicester by RAF Sea King.
He spent 10 days on the only ECMO machine in the country, which takes over from the lungs and keeps up the circulation of blood and oxygen in his body.
His condition was so grave his family were told to say their last goodbyes to him.
He then spent two months recovering in intensive care at Glenfield and latterly the RUH, where he lost three stone in weight.
He was finally discharged from hospital on December 29.
Avid Liverpool Football Club fan Mr Knight, who returned to work at Wright Fuel in Staverton last month, has had to learn to walk again after losing the muscle tone in his legs.
“It was a bit of a shock when they told me I could go home because I had to learn to walk again,” he said.
“I had to build the strength up in my legs because I hadn’t used them for so long.
“They said it will take about a year until I feel 100 per cent.
“I missed the little things like sleeping in my own bed, being able to play PlayStation, playing darts for the Rising Sun in Bradford on Avon, and watching the football.
“I just take every day as it comes now. You’ve got to try and enjoy life and live it to the full.
“The staff at the RUH and at Glenfield were brilliant.
“The RUH have been very good to me and now Gail and Abigail, so we are very thankful.”
Miss Hudson, who works at Center Parcs in Longleat Forest, Warminster, said she was supported throughout her pregnancy by both hers and her husband’s parents.
“I couldn’t stay at home because I couldn’t look at all the photos of David,” she said.
“I went to stay with my parents in Westbury.
“My brother had to move out of the house and into the caravan because I took his room.”
After Mr Knight’s miracle recovery, the couple are now planning their wedding at All Saints Church in Westbury on August 28, with a reception to follow at Westbury Country Park.
“There was one stage when I didn’t think David was coming home, so it will be an emotional day,” Miss Hudson added.