A COLCHESTER mum whose son suffered a stroke only 12 minutes after he was born is calling is calling for more to be done to safeguard youngsters who suffer a similar ordeal.

Rachel Witney, 37, from Colchester, said she had a “normal pregnancy” with there being no indications of anything at all being out of the blue.

But when Rachel gave birth to her son Austin in Colchester Hospital, she knew something was wrong as his “lips started turning blue”.

Austin was just 12 minutes old when doctors grew increasingly concerned before transferring him to Luton Hospital and then Dunstable University Hospital for specialist treatment. 

Gazette: Hospital - Mum Rachel Witney with Austin when he was a baby in hospital Hospital - Mum Rachel Witney with Austin when he was a baby in hospital (Image: Submitted)

Rachel said: “I was in shock for quite a long time.

“I was really worried something else was going to happen with the brain injury and as I couldn’t feed him or cuddle him, I went into research mode as that’s all I could do.”

Rachel left hospital unsure whether Austin would ever be able to talk or walk but can now share Austin, aged six, is “doing incredibly well”.

Austin, who has cerebral palsy and a weakness to his right side, started talking in sentences a year ago “which has given him independence”.

Gazette: Happy - Austin is now 6Happy - Austin is now 6 (Image: Submitted)

The inspiring youngster, who is now in a mainstream primary school with one-to-one support, cannot tie shoelaces or open packets due to his fine motor skills but can run in his own way.  

Rachel, along with her husband, celebrate all of Austin’s achievements and said they want a legal register to improve research for the typically 400 UK children who have a stroke each year. 

Rachel said: “I want to make it clear people are not alone if they reach out to the Stroke Association.

“I would not have been able to talk about it a few years ago but I am now, and I am proud of Austin.”

Gazette: Family - Rachel Witney with her son AustinFamily - Rachel Witney with her son Austin (Image: Submitted)

Sara Betsworth, service delivery lead for the Stroke Association in the East of England said: “At the moment, awareness of and research into childhood stroke is really low.

“This means that on the rare occasions when babies and children have a stroke, it is taking too long to get a diagnoses and treatment for them.

"We need better awareness in recognising the signs of stroke for parents, carers, and healthcare professionals.”