A couple who feared they would never have children have created a spectacular to-do list to ensure time spent with their precious sons is not wasted.
Mac and Vicki Ferguson, from Cuminestown, Aberdeenshire, almost lost both boys when they were born dangerously premature – 12 years after their mother needed a life-saving liver transplant.
Now to make sure they fulfil their time as a family and give five-year-old Oliver and two-year-old Harris a childhood to remember they have come up with a 500-point adventure plan.
Their “sand-bucket list” – to be completed by Oliver’s 18th birthday – includes everything from having a shower in a waterfall and exploring the deepest jungle to launching a rocket into space.
Mrs Ferguson, who was given only a 5% chance of survival when she suffered acute liver failure at 18, said their experiences had taught them to “squeeze every bit of fun out of every day”.
After years of trying for a family with no success and the pain of two miscarriages, they had almost given up hope of ever being parents when she discovered she was pregnant with Oliver.
But six weeks before her due date she developed Hellp syndrome, a rare condition affecting fewer than one in 400,000 people which can be life-threatening to both mother and unborn baby.
Oliver had to be delivered by emergency caesarean section and spent three weeks in the neonatal unit at Aberdeen Maternity Hospital, while his mother battled for life in intensive care after her womb ruptured.
They endured a similar ordeal two years later when Harris was born 11 weeks premature with a rare heart defect called patent ductus arteriosus.
He weighed just 3lb 6oz and was struggling for breath, while his mother was rushed away for six hours of surgery after she suffered a ruptured bowel.
After seven weeks in the neonatal unit, several days on oxygen, and a major heart operation last year, Harris is now a picture of health – and the family are raising funds for the Aberdeen hospital and Yorkhill Children’s Charity to thank the staff who helped save their lives.
Mrs Ferguson, who spent several days in a coma while doctors frantically searched for a donor liver to save her in 1997, said: “After all that’s happened it really make us appreciate having the boys and we are so grateful for what we’ve got.
“We have been very, very fortunate.”