A mum has told how her newborn son became stuck in her pelvis, causing him to suffer a stroke moments after he was born.

Sarah Cowan, 34, had planned on giving birth to baby Joshua at home, but was transferred to hospital after making little progress in 24 hours.

There it was decided she would need an emergency caesarean - but three doctors struggled to get Joshua out, resulting in his skull being fractured.

Around 36 hours later, a nurse then noticed Joshua was having seizures and an MRI scan later revealed he had suffered a stroke at some point after the birth.

Sarah and her partner Russ Gabbatt, 43, were told this had caused damage to the left side of Joshua's brain, which could affect his future mobility.

She told The Mirror: "Up until [the caesarean] there was no indication that anything was untoward. My pregnancy was classed as low risk and my tests were all right.

The newborn fractured his skull during the delivery and was taken to the NICU (


Sarah Cowan)

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"But the birth was traumatic. Pretty much straight away I could feel there was pushing shoving. It took three different doctors attempting to get him out before he was finally delivered."

After the delivery, Sarah, who lives in Preston, Lancashire, was able to feed Joshua overnight - but she quickly noticed something wasn't quite right.

She said: "The noises he was making didn't sound right. I'm a first-time mum so I didn't know what to expect, but something in me thought, that doesn't sound good.

"He was then taken to the NICU for monitoring the next morning and he had a seizure when he was about 36 hours old.

"At seven days old they booked him in for an MRI scan and it came back he had had a stoke.

"They assume it's from when he fractured his skull, but they can't pinpoint when it happened. I had no idea babies could have strokes."

An MRI scan later revealed that Joshua had suffered a stroke shortly after he was born (


Sarah Cowan)

Joshua, who was two weeks overdue, was delivered on June 16 2020, weighing 9lb 13oz.

Due to Covid restrictions, Sarah and Russ could only visit their new son in the NICU one at a time.

While waiting for more updates about Joshua's condition, Sarah then fell seriously ill with what doctors suspected could be sepsis.

Sarah said: "It was really hard not being able to see him together. I was emotional, it was just such a shock, I found it hard to process.

"They didn't know what was wrong with him - they were trying to give him antibiotics and medication to cover everything just in case. It was the unknown, I didn't know what was going on.

"Then I also got an infection, I was so poorly and my temperature kept spiking."

The couple are raising money for Joshua to receive specialist treatment (


Sarah Cowan)

Sarah and Joshua were both kept in hospital for several days, with the pandemic preventing worried family members from visiting.

In that time, She and Russ were told that Joshua may be disabled, as the damage to his brain would likely result in weakness to the right side of his body.

The condition is called Hemiplegia, and is a form of Cerebral Palsy, which affects a person's movement and co-ordination.

At 16 months old, Joshua now doesn't use his right arm automatically and his right hand often remains fisted.

Sarah said: "He's doing really well, he's so cheeky and a little cutie. He's got a smile that lights up the room. Everyone tells us how happy and smiley he is.

Sarah said Joshua has a smile that can 'light up the room' (


Sarah Cowan)

"I've stopped looking at milestones because there's no point in thinking where he should be. Cognitively I think he is about where he should be, but physically he's behind.

"He can sit up unaided and he shuffles around now on his bum like nobody's business. He can very independent when he wants to be!"

Sarah and Russ have now found Joshua an intensive course of CIMT, which isn't available on the NHS anywhere near them, with a physio who specialises in Hemiplegia.

Today Sarah will be walking a sponsored marathon around Preston to raise money for the three-week course in February.

So-far she has raised more than £1,800 of their £4,500 target.

She said: "Joshua has a lot of input from the occupational therapist and a physio, but it's just not enough. We feel he needs something more regular to make a difference."

To donate to Sarah and Russ' fundraiser, click here.

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