'I didn't know if he would make it'
IF YOU asked the parents of Gympie toddler Harrison Drake-Pretty to describe their son, they would say he is a fighter.
Yesterday, at Lake Alford, surrounded by family and friends, Harrison celebrated his first birthday.
It was a milestone he was not supposed to make.
When Harrison was born he weighted just 1173g.
He was two months premature and the size of 26-week-old foetus when he arrived.
He could fit onto the palm of his father's hand.
He spent his first six weeks attached to tubes in an isolette.
At seven weeks he was diagnosed with Neonatal Lung Disease and put on oxygen which he stayed on until five days ago.
Harrison and his parents, Alison Drake, 22 and Corey Pretty, 24, spent 96 days in hospital.
Their son's lungs are still not 100 percent but they are improving.
Ms Drake said it has been an "emotional, crazy and beautiful year watching her baby grow."
"I am so proud of him and how far he has come," she said.
"I am proud of us as a family.
"I was so worried for the first few months. I didn't know if he would make it, but he proved us all wrong.
"Premature babies are strong.
"No matter how small they are, they are true fighters.
"My son is a fighter," she said.
While Harrison still has to have regular check ups in Brisbane, his father Corey said the experience, as stressful as it was, has brought his family closer together.
"It's tough to put into words," he said.
"You have to really trust your partner and go off each other's support.
"You have to both be on the same level.
"It is easier said than done but you do come out of it on top," he said.