WHEN Laura and Ross Colledge cradled their premature baby son in hospital last Christmas Day, they could only hope that next year's would be different.
Born nearly three months premature on November 14, 2011, Joshua weighed just 2lb 4oz and was scarcely bigger than an adult hand.
The tot had suffered bleeding on the brain and was so severely underdeveloped his eyes were still fused shut.
Joshua and his parents were forced to spend last Christmas at the Royal Cornwall Hospital's neonatal unit, where Joshua spent more than two months fighting for his little life.
The Colledge family, of St Columb Road near Newquay, have since reached one special landmark already – Joshua's first birthday – and on Tuesday they reached yet another – their first Christmas together as a family out of hospital.
Speaking to the Cornish Guardian, Laura said both events have helped the family to look forward.
"Joshua was still in an incubator last Christmas," she said.
"My parents came down but the day was very disjointed. We went to visit Joshua in hospital but then we had to leave him, which was very hard.
"This year we have been able to get into the Christmas spirit and not think about anything other than being a family.
"We spent Christmas Day and Boxing Day being spoilt by Ross's close family who made Christmas extra special for us.
"Joshua is like our little buddy, he has enhanced our lives."
Laura, 32, a wedding singer and guitarist, was diagnosed with a condition that means it is highly likely that any baby she carries will be born prematurely.
For her and Ross, 27, their first Christmas together has been another poignant reminder of when their lives were turned upside down just over a year ago.
Laura's waters broke 11 weeks before her due date and she went into premature labour. Within 48 hours Joshua had gone into trauma in her womb and his heart rate was slowing. Doctors then announced that he needed to be delivered immediately by Caesarean section.
Joshua was born at 6am with limbs the size of an adult finger. He was taken straight to intensive care.
After two months of fighting a bleed on the brain and illness caused by his early birth, Joshua was able to go home. Today, the toddler is active, happy and content and growing normally.
Laura said her family owed an "enormous debt of gratitude to the unit".
"Treliske staff brought him a Christmas present and they also planned a special surprise for me on Christmas Day last year," she said.
"They put him into an angled hot cot which meant Ross and I were able to hold him whenever we wanted."
Laura and Ross celebrated Joshua's first birthday by raising £1,140 for the neonatal unit which saved his life.