A snowboarder who was paralysed from the neck down and feared he’d never be a dad has welcomed his second son.
Tom and Ellen Nabarro, both 35, worried they may never have a family after he severed his spinal cord and shattered two vertebrae in his neck in April 2007.
The accident left Tom tetraplegic – in a wheelchair, unable to move from the shoulders down, and without sensation or voluntary movement in his limbs.
But the software engineer and his wife – who were together for two years before his accident – wed in 2012 and Ellen fell pregnant in June 2017.
Their first little boy Ori – whose name means ‘my light’ in Hebrew – arrived in March 2018 – followed by their second child, Max, in June this year.
Tom told the Real Fix podcast – which features real people telling extraordinary stories – that their two sons are “a joy to be around”.
Proud Tom, from Standlake, Oxfordshire, told RealFix: “It was a very scary thought to think that might not have kids.
“So having Ori was incredible. He’s an absolute joy.
“He’s so vibrant and engaging and he loves to garden with my mum – he’s got little green fingers he loves digging.”
Tom almost died when he dislocated his neck, suffered three cardiac arrests and was left unconscious for three weeks after his snowboarding fall in Bulgaria in 2007.
He spent over a year in Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, with his loving partner, Ellen, by his side.
In 2008, Tom was finally discharged and he and Ellen moved into a wheelchair-adapted extension in Standlake, Oxfordshire.
Tom proposed in October 2010 and the couple tied the knot in an emotional ceremony in the summer of 2012 attended by many of the nurses who cared for him.
Tom’s condition hasn’t prevented the pair from having a sex life but they worried it might not be possible to have children.
“We’re given hope that people with high level spinal injuries can have meaningful sexual lives,” he said.
“It just takes a bit more working out and a bit more planning.
“It was encouraging to hear it was possible.
“I was actually trying to persuade Ellen to try for kids earlier than we did but she was more sensible about it.”
Following an 18-hour labour, little Ori was born at John Radcliffe Hospital, in Headington, Oxford, at 4.54am on March 14 2018, weighing 7lbs 6oz.
Little Ori is now two and a half and the pair have since welcomed Max, who was born on June 8 this year, weighing 6lbs 9oz.
Tom admits he longs to be able to scoop up his sons and rough play with them – but he told the weekly podcast he has found his own ways of bonding with them.
“It would be a wonderful thing for me to be able to hold my children, but it can’t happen and you just have to make do,” he said.
“It’s difficult not to be able to kick a ball around and throw them around and do rough play but you can make do.
“I’m just trying to be a good dad.”
Ellen and Tom have adapted to life as parents and have not let the accident hold them back.
Tom said: “He fills our lives with joy and happiness.”
“Having children has been a massive progression in my life.
“I’m a different person since the accident.
“Going through life changing events gives you a different perspective on life which helps me be a better parent.”
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