A baby boy born at 23 weeks and one day has celebrated his first birthday – a year after doctors almost left him to die on his mum’s chest.

Cathrine Bakke, 34, was told her son, Shaka, had only a tiny chance of survival and would likely be brain damaged after he arrived four months early, weighing just 1lb 2oz in September last year.

The kitchen assistant and her fiancé, Randy Robertson, 47, a care assistant, were not allowed to hold their son for over two weeks after he was born because he was so weak.

However, the plucky newborn, who was smaller than a carton of milk at birth, defied all the odds, turning one earlier this month

Mum-of-three Cathrine says the youngster is now as healthy as any other mischievous toddler.

Cathrine and Randy with Shaka just after born

She said: “I’ve never met someone with a baby so healthy who was born so early.

“He was just 29cm in length when he was born.

“It took three weeks for doctors to say he was going to survive.

“It was very traumatic time. I cried a lot.

“But today he is just like any other healthy and happy baby.

“He broke all prognoses.”

Shaka was due to be born at the beginning of January this year, but Cathrine’s world was turned upside down when her waters broke at home, while just 22 weeks and two days pregnant.

The mum-of-three, from Alta, Norway was rushed by helicopter to the nearest hospital where doctors warned her Shaka would be left on her chest to die if she went into labour before 23 weeks.

Cathrine with Shaka in hospital

In a last ditch bid to save her baby son, doctors tried to stop the mum-of-three going into labour for as long as possible and she ended up delivering him six days later at 23 weeks and one day.

Her fiancé, Randy, who was looking after their two daughters at home 240 miles away, managed to make the birth in the nick of time after jumping on the first plane to the Norwegian town of Tromsø, where Cathrine was in hospital.

However, the new mum’s ordeal wasn’t yet over, and she had to spend an antagonising few months alone in hospital caring for her son who doctors feared wouldn’t make it, while Randy saw to the other children back home.

She said: “Before he was born, the doctors were preparing us for a multi-handicapped child.

“Cerebral palsy and major brain bleeding were the main concerns.

“When Shaka was two or three days old they said if he gets worse you have to choose whether you want this life for your child or to take him off life support.

“It was the worst thing I’ve ever gone through.”

Randy and Shaka when he was just 10 mins old

Shaka initially had a slight bleed on the brain and intestinal problems, but both conditions cleared up within two months before doctors had chance to operate on the tiny new-born.

And luckily the plucky tot didn’t deteriorate, but Cathrine had to stay with him onsite at the hospital for almost four months until he could breathe on his own.

Shaka came off oxygen at the end of December last year and Cathrine was eventually allowed to return to the family home with him on New Year’s Eve, just before his due date of early January this year.

It was only the third time that Cathrine’s and Randy’s daughters, Kumba, 9, and Jalivia, 4, had been able to see their little brother since he was born four months earlier.

Cathrine said: “It was wonderful to be able to take him home.

“When you’re in the hospital, you never feel like your child is completely yours because there are nurses and doctors coming through all the time.

“My eldest loves him and is very protective, but Jalivia was sceptical at first.

“I think it was to do with the fact I was gone away for so long because of him.

“She’s getting a bit softer around him now though.”