Doncaster dad quit career to be paramedic after his baby nearly died
A Doncaster dad left his career in car sales to become a paramedic after his baby's heart stopped and she nearly died.
Carl Birks, 33, and his wife Charlie, 35, saw baby Felicity delivered at just 29 weeks old. She had hydrops fetalis - a deadly fluid on the lungs - and was given just a 5% chance of survival before her heart stopped for two minutes.
Doncaster Royal Infirmary Doctors drained her lungs and performed CPR as they fought to save her life. Thankfully, they were able to resuscitate Felicity, and she spent two months in intensive care at Sheffield Teaching Hospital
Carl, from Hatfield in Doncaster, quit his job as a car salesman. He is now waiting to start his paramedic training.
The dad-of-four said: "I was so worried, Charlie and I had been wishing for a girl and we didn’t want to lose our first daughter. We didn’t know if she would make it as we sat outside the incubation room waiting for her to stabilise for 16 hours, with only a photo of her to hold.
''The medics were incredible. The paramedics' reassurance and help made the biggest impact on me..
"Now she’s my strong-willed, always happy, camera-loving, miracle.”
Charlie and Carl went for the 29-week check-up after finding out Charlie was pregnant with Felicity in January 2019. At the check-up doctors found Felicity had an abnormal heart rate so decided to deliver her early.
She was born by C-section at 1am on April 11, 2019. Felicity weighed just three pounds and seven ounces at birth.
She spent 116 days in hospital and four surgeries.
Carl said: ''All the doctors and nurses treated Felicity and us amazingly, taking care of our every need.
“We couldn’t believe it when we were finally allowed to take her home. It felt like I was on top of the world.”
Carl was laid off from his job in car sales in May 2020 due to the pandemic. It was then that he decided to make a change.
Carl said: “I was deciding what I wanted to do with my new career and realised that I couldn’t go back to selling cars. I wanted to look after people the way I was looked after.”
He started a diploma in health science in September 2022 at Doncaster College. He will start an undergraduate degree in paramedic science in September 2023 at Bradford University.
"It was a little daunting going back to school," Carl added. "But I was determined to do it, not just for Felicity but for the wonderful paramedics and medical staff that were the biggest support.
"Felicity is only four but she says she's proud of me and that keeps me going. I'm hoping to become a paramedic and make an impact on people as they did for me."
Carl has since taken on the challenge of having an ice bath every day for 116 days to raise money for Embrace and The Children's Hospice Charity.
He said: "I'm doing this challenge to highlight the fantastic job everyone within Team Embrace and the ambulance service does. The hardest part is getting yourself in there."
To donate to Carl's fundraiser visit his Just Giving page here.