The ᴘʀᴇᴍᴀᴛᴜʀᴇ Baby Girl Wasn’t ‘Viable’ At 20 Weeks Fɪɢʜᴛɪɴɢ For Life Unexpectedly After 1 Year
A mother has revealed how she travelled nearly 300 miles to ensure her sᴜʀᴠɪᴠᴀʟ baby daughter had a chance of survival. Mother Cheri Price, 22, says her youngest child Hailie would have been declared ‘a late ᴍɪsᴄᴀʀʀɪᴀɢᴇ’, if she’d have stayed on the Isle of Wight, where the family live.
Instead, Cheri and partner Tim, 32, travelled 300 miles to Darlington, where they had family, and their daughter arrived at 23 weeks and six days – weighing just 1lb 2ozs. Born with ᴀ ᴄᴏʟʟᴀᴘsᴇᴅ ʟᴜɴɢ ᴏɴᴇ ᴅᴀʏ ʙᴇFᴏʀᴇ ᴛʜᴇ ᴀʙᴏʀᴛɪᴏɴ ᴄᴜᴛ-ᴏFF ᴘᴏɪɴᴛ, Hailie had to be resuscitated at birth and her tiny body was so underdeveloped that her parents say they could see her veins – and even her ʙʀᴀɪɴ matter – through her sᴋᴜʟʟ.
Newborns are deemed to only be ‘ᴠɪᴀʙʟᴇ’ Fʀᴏᴍ ᴀFᴛᴇʀ ᴛʜᴇ 24-ᴡᴇᴇᴋ ᴍᴀʀᴋ ᴀɴᴅ ᴏɴʟʏ ʜᴀᴠᴇ ᴀʀᴏᴜɴᴅ 35 ᴘᴇʀ ᴄᴇɴᴛ ᴄʜᴀɴᴄᴇ ᴏF sᴜʀᴠɪᴠᴀʟ, according to the NHS. Cheri, who lives on the Isle of Wight, said: ‘When Hailie was born, it sounds bad to say it, but she looked like a red ᴀʟɪᴇɴ.
‘She was still in the Fᴏᴇᴛᴜs sᴛᴀɢᴇ and she didn’t look like a baby at all – we couldn’t believe she even sᴜʀᴠɪᴠᴇᴅ.From birth, she was put in an incubator and we couldn’t touch her – but we could see all the veins of her ʙʀᴀɪɴ through her red skin.’
Cheri began contractions suddenly after ʟᴏsɪɴɢ her ‘ᴍᴜᴄᴜs ᴘʟᴜɢ’, the protective dam between the ᴜᴛᴇʀᴜs ᴀɴᴅ ᴠᴀɢɪɴᴀ, while at home on the Isle of Wight.
This kick-started the birth process – but Cheri was only 20 weeks pregnant so the hospital on the island could not do anything ᴛᴏ ʜᴇʟᴘ sᴀᴠᴇ the baby, she says. Cheri claims the island’s St Mary’s hospital at Newport ‘classed her pregnancy as a late ᴍɪsᴄᴀʀʀɪᴀɢᴇ’ – and did not have the facilities to accommodate newborns prior to the 24-week mark.
The mum then made the decision with her boyfriend Timothy Dillon, 32, to travel to Darlington, Teesside, to be cʟᴏsᴇr to Tim’s brother who would help with childcare for their 11-month-old son Jack.
Cheri says she thought ᴛʜᴇʀᴇ ᴡᴀs ɴᴏ ᴡᴀʏ ʜᴇʀ ᴜɴʙᴏʀɴ ᴄʜɪʟᴅ ᴡᴏᴜʟᴅ ʜᴀᴠᴇ sᴜʀᴠɪᴠᴇᴅ ᴡɪᴛʜᴏᴜᴛ heading to better hospital care facilities. After a fortnight in and out of hospital in Middlesbrough, Cheri was then ready to head ʙᴀᴄᴋ ᴅᴏᴡɴ sᴏᴜᴛʜ to have the baby on the island because was looking at sᴜʀᴘᴀssɪɴɢ the 24 week mark. Unfortunately her ᴄᴏɴᴛʀᴀᴄᴛɪᴏɴs ʜᴀᴅ ᴀʟsᴏ ᴇᴀsᴇᴅ ᴛʜᴀɴᴋs ᴛᴏ ᴛʜᴇ ᴅʀᴜɢs used and was discharged on February 19. However, her ᴡᴀᴛᴇʀs ʙʀᴏᴋᴇ on February 21 – and she gave birth to Hailie on February 23 at James Cook University hospital in Middlesborough.
The little tot had to be resuscitated when she was born after she ᴅɪᴅɴ’ᴛ ʙʀᴇᴀᴛʜᴇ for seven minutes – and just two days later her ʟᴜɴɢ ᴄᴏʟʟᴀᴘsᴇᴅ. Cheri said: ‘We just thought we would take the chance at a larger hospital – and we were cʟᴏsᴇr to relatives so they could help with childcare for Jack.”‘
‘I’m so proud of her, what we’ve been through and what she has been through has been ʜᴏʀʀᴇɴᴅᴏᴜs. We thought we would ʟᴏsᴇ her at so many points and we’ve had no help whatsoever.’
Cheri and NHS Mental Health support worker Timothy then spent an agonising three months at sᴛᴀFF ᴀᴄᴄᴏᴍᴍᴏᴅᴀᴛɪᴏɴ at James Cook University hospital in Middlesbrough.
However, Hailie had still not opened her eyes after they had been fused together – and she Fᴀᴄᴇᴅ ʙᴇɪɴɢ ᴘᴇʀᴍᴀɴᴇɴᴛʟʏ ʙʟɪɴᴅ ᴀs ʜᴇʀ ʀᴇᴛɪɴᴀ ᴡᴀs ɴᴏᴛ ᴅᴇᴠᴇʟᴏᴘɪɴɢ ᴘʀᴏᴘᴇʀʟʏ. The little tot had to be resuscitated when she was born after she ᴅɪᴅɴ’ᴛ ʙʀᴇᴀᴛʜᴇ for seven minutes – and just two days later her ʟᴜɴɢ ᴄᴏʟʟᴀᴘsᴇᴅ.
The newborn was flown to Princess Anne hospital in Southampton and then later visited Portsmouth Queen Alexandria ʜᴏsᴘɪᴛᴀʟ – ᴡʜɪᴄʜ ᴇᴠᴇɴᴛᴜᴀʟʟʏ sᴀᴠᴇᴅ ʜᴇʀ sɪɢʜᴛ. She was finally allowed home – two days after her actual due date.
Cheri, who is a full-time mummy and carer to her eldest child Liam Price, seven, ᴡʜᴏ ʜᴀs ADHD, said she is no longer planning on having any more children.