Having booked almost three weeks of holiday time, Jay Squibb had planned to mark Wilson’s big day with wife Ali, eldest son Finn, 7, and surrounded by family and friends.
But instead the 33-year-old is lying in a hospital bed, unable to speak because of the horrific injuries that have left his voicebox and windpipe crushed.
Dad-of-two Jay is lucky to be alive after plunging 100ft when the arm of the towering Morris crane he was operating broke off, sending him plunging onto containers on a ship below in Southampton docks.
Remarkably it’s those containers that could well have saved his life – breaking his fall inside the crane’s small cabin.
Had timings been different, his family fear he could have been moving a container onto a ship and fallen even further on to a concrete quay.
Amazingly, there’s just a scratch on the face of the crane operator, who has worked at the docks for around 13 years, following in his father John’s footsteps, with brothers Steve and Colby.
Speaking from Southampton General hospital where she has kept a bedside vigil since Jay’s accident early on Monday morning, Ali said days have merged into a blur.
“It happened at 5.15am and I found out from my sister-inlaw at 6.40am.
I was just getting up and starting to think of getting our eldest son Finn ready for school. I was running around in a blind panic. The days are a blur – I’ve been numb.”
Following the accident Jay underwent hours of surgery to have his larynx repaired by ear, nose and throat surgeons.
His neck is now bruised and swollen and he’s unable to speak.
Ali, 33, said: “I don’t know how long it will be before he gets the use of his voice again, and we’ve been told he’ll be croaky for some time.
“Whether he will ever actually sound like my Jay again I just don’t know. But it goes without saying that he’s lucky to be here – he’s my miracle.”
Jay was taken off a ventilator yesterday and is now using oxygen to help him. His first communication with Ali was when he spelt on to her hand “what’s happened?”
Ali said; “I told him it was the crane and he just rolled his eyes back.”
The couple, from Woolston, thought they had endured their fair share of time in hospital after Wilson was born ten weeks premature and then underwent surgery for a pacemaker to be fitted to his tiny body.
Just when things looked up, the tot was diagnosed with pneumonia over Christmas.
Ali said: “His birthday was going to be really special but instead Wilson won’t even be able to see his dad just yet. I’m just desperate for him to get better but this is going to be a long, slow recovery process and right now it’s just one step at a time.