He was born at just 23 weeks, so tiny that his feet were only an inch long, and given only a 50% chance of surviving.
But Kalel Fitz – named after the original name of Superman on his home planet Krypton – has defied all expectations to pull through. Yesterday he celebrated his second birthday.
Just last month, little Kalel was taken off oxygen support and began breathing unaided for the first time.
A hero’s name
His parents chose the heroic name for their son after he took a turn for the worst and medics asked them to consider turning off his ventilator.
Kalel’s mother Kaye had a perfectly normal pregnancy with her first child Charlie, now nine, but she lost his little brother Toby in June 2010 when she caught gastroenteritis at 22 weeks.
Kaye went on to give birth to twin girls Lotta and Katy, now four.
Born at 23 weeks
During her next pregnancy, Kaye’s waters broke when she was just 23 weeks pregnant – before the legal abortion limit for most babies – and she had a c-section nine days later on April 18, 2014.
Kalel was born weighing a tiny 1lb 8oz and was put on a ventilator in the intensive care unit at Leicester’s Royal Infirmary but his parents were told to prepare for the worst.
They begged for a few more days with their baby and had him christened ‘Kalel’ to pay homage to his fighting spirit.
“We’d been watching Man of Steel and Scott is really into ‘superheroes’ so he was always saying when I was pregnant ‘what about Kalel?’ said Kaye.
“I thought it was a bit strange – I liked Tyler – so I just said ‘I don’t know’. It was a bit odd.
“Our little superhero”
“But when he was born and he got through that I just knew he had to have that name.
“The nurses didn’t know how to pronounce it so they just called him ‘Superman’ but it wasn’t until we had him christened he really lived up to his name.
“But he hasn’t stopped living up to it … he really is our little superhero.”
When he was born, Kalel’s feet were just one inch long
Clinging on to life
Kalel stopped breathing twice and doctors gave him steroids to treat a collapsed lung. But while the doctors worked tirelessly to give him the best chance of survival, after ten weeks they approached the couple about turning off his machine.
The couple, from Wigston, Leicestershire decided to wait a couple of days to give him one last chance to come off the breathing machine – and were amazed when his health drastically improved and he was taken off his ventilator days later.
When the tube was removed, he started breathing with the help of a face mask. Gradually he grew stronger and started putting on weight before being well enough to go home after four months in hospital.
Doctors warned the couple he might need to be on oxygen long-term, but Kalel again defied expectations when he started breathing unaided last month.
Now the family’s ‘little superhero’ has reached another milestone as he celebrates his second birthday.
Kalel has just celebrated his second birthday – and likes to dress in style!