A premature baby born at just 23 weeks was the size of a superman action figure.
His parents were told to expect the worst when he was born, but now, following his miraculous recovery, Logan Ray celebrates every birthday next to the toy.
Logan weighed just 1.5lb when he was born, and was the same length as a 12-inch Superman toy bought by his dad, Rob, 42.
Even though the odds were stacked against him from the start, Logan eventually got far bigger than his superman toy until, after 105 days in hospital, he was able to go home.
Every year on his birthday, Logan, now four, gets his picture taken with his Superman toy by mum Val, 34, to remind her how far he has come.
She said: ‘He is a little superhero himself. Even when he was just a pound-and-a-half in weight. I called him my little “tough guy”.
‘The doctor would look at me and say ‘we will see how he does’ and I’d just keep saying “he’s a tough guy”!
‘Still to this day, she will message me on Facebook and ask how our little tough guy is doing.
Valerie Ray with baby Logan (Picture: Valerie Ray / SWNS.COM)
‘We had nurses suggest putting something next to him to compare size-wise. I didn’t want to leave the hospital so I had Rob go out instead.
‘I told him to pick out something that he thought would be appropriate like a doll that we could disinfect and put inside the incubator.
‘He called me and said what about a Superman? I thought it was perfect!’
Val, who’s a stay-at-home mum, was 21 weeks pregnant with Logan, her firstborn, when she went to the doctor suspecting something was wrong.
After an ultrasound, Val was told she had an incompetent cervix – a medical condition that often causes women to miscarry where the cervix opens and shortens and opens ahead of schedule.
Val’s cervix had almost disappeared so she was rushed into surgery for a cerclage, a procedure in which doctors try to stitch the cervix back together.
Logan at 4 weeks and 2 days old (Picture: Valerie Ray / SWNS.COM)
However the cerclage was not successful and Val and Rob were told to get ready for the worst.
Val said: ‘The doctors basically told Rob and I that they were going to send us home to miscarry.
‘Both Rob and I looked at the doctor and said: “We’re not going anywhere, whether we have him tomorrow or have him four months from now, we’re staying in the hospital”.
‘They put me on bed rest in the hospital after that, where my head had to be lower than my feet at all times.
‘I wasn’t allowed to get up at all and I was like that for 20 days.’
Rob, who works as a painting contractor, added: ‘She’s downplaying this, by the way!
‘She laid upside down basically with her head lower than her feet for 20 days without getting out of the bed to do anything.
‘To be honest, she’s incredible.
Logan at 12 weeks and 2 days old (Picture: Valerie Ray / SWNS.COM) Logan at 14 weeks old (Picture: Valerie Ray / SWNS.COM)
‘I didn’t realise how strong my wife was until I saw her lie in that bed like that upside down all those days.
‘She didn’t complain at all – she just laid there like: “I’ll stay here for months if I need to”.’
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After 20 days spent upside down, Val’s waters broke and 32 hours of labour later, she gave birth to little Logan on July 25, 2016.
The baby was rushed to the NICU ward after a brief moment with his mother, and dad Rob watched on as his new son was quickly ventilated.
Poor Logan had two brain bleeds, two holes in his heart, and inguinal hernia and urinary tract infection.
Logan at 7 months old (Picture: Valerie Ray / SWNS.COM) Rob and Logan today (Picture: Valerie Ray / SWNS.COM)
He was flown to Randall Children’s Hospital in Portland, Oregon, USA, just five weeks after he was born in case he needed dialysis.
Rob said: ‘Luckily, his test results came back a few days later and showed he had a UTI which is very uncommon in boys and super rare in premature babies so he didn’t need dialysis.
‘There was a real fear of losing him at that point. We really thought he didn’t have much chance of pulling through.”
Val added: ‘We had a couple of times like that, that’s for sure.’
After medication sorted his UTI out, Logan had to have laser eye surgery when he was 11-weeks-old to fix his retinopathy of prematurity that could have blinded him.
Logan with Superman on his 3rd birthday (Picture: Valerie Ray / SWNS.COM) Logan on his 4th birthday (Picture: Valerie Ray / SWNS.COM)
Even with his laundry list of procedures and health issues, wee Logan pulled through and was able to celebrate his first Christmas at home, in Bend, Oregon.
Now, Logan is a healthy, thriving four-year-old boy with no health issues to speak of.
Val said: ‘We take a picture every birthday where Logan holds his Superman and it’s amazing seeing the size difference now.
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‘We keep Superman up on a shelf because we want to keep it in one piece but Logan does hold it when we take it out for photos for his birthday.
‘He looks at it and we tell him that’s how big he used to be but I don’t know if he quite gets that concept yet!’
Rob said: ‘He’s just an incredible little boy. A lot of these babies born at 23 weeks have tons of health problems but Logan just didn’t, thank god.