Little Miss Miracle

Bed things came in threes for my little girl...

Published by: Amy Thompson
Published on: 5th May 2011

They say good things come in threes, but sitting opposite the doctor, I hoped the same wasn’t true of bad things.
Me and my boyfriend Danny, 20, had split after I’d fallen pregnant, but the news I’d just been given was far worse.
My 20-week scan had shown that amniotic fluid protecting my baby against infection was leaking through a hole in my womb.
‘There’s a risk your baby’s lungs won’t develop properly as a result,’ the doctor said.
‘But she could still be okay?’ I asked nervously.
‘No, even if you make it to full-term, you may end up having a stillbirth,’ the doctor warned. ‘So… we can offer you a termination.’
Aged 17, without a boyfriend, and still living at home, the idea of having a baby was terrifying – but not nearly as terrifying as the thought of losing it.
‘No way,’ I shook my head, gripping my mum Joanne’s hand. ‘If there’s a chance my baby will make it, I’m not giving up.’
Mum squeezed my hand reassuringly. She and Dad had been brilliant, supporting me all the way.
‘Okay,’ the doctor replied. ‘But you’ll have to come in every few days for blood tests and swabs, so we can check the baby hasn’t picked up any infections.’
Back home, I focused on staying positive. Over the next few weeks, I carried on as normal, going back to the hospital for check-ups.
Then, at my six-month scan, the nurse turned to me and smiled. ‘Everything looks good. She’s growing nicely,’ she said.
My heart fluttered excitedly. ‘Did you say… she?’ I asked. ‘It’s a girl?’
She laughed, surprised. ‘Didn’t you know that?’
‘No one’s been able to tell me,’ I replied.
‘Well, now you know,’ she beamed as we left the room.
Straight after, I dragged Mum into the hospital gift shop.
‘What are you doing?’ she asked, as I made a beeline for the cuddly toys.
‘I’ve got to get her something pink!’ I squealed happily.
Buying a soft, pink teddy I stroked its fur, smiling all the way home. I didn’t care what the doctor said – my little girl was going to be all right.
My dad John, 61, helped put a crib together for her, and Mum bought all the pink babygros and bibs we could find. By the time I was seven months pregnant, we had everything my little girl would need.
‘Just two more months, little one,’ I murmured, stroking my bump. ‘Hang in there
for Mummy.’
But a week later, I started bleeding. ‘Mum!’ I screamed, bursting into tears.
‘It’s all right, sweetheart,’ she soothed, helping me into the car. ‘We’ll get you to hospital. Everything will be fine.’
I tried so hard to fight the feeling of dread creeping over me. Was this it? Was I going to lose my little girl before she’d even been born?
Arriving at James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, I was told I was in labour.
‘Your baby’s on her way,’ a midwife told me.
‘No!’ I panted. ‘It’s too soon.’
My daughter had already fought so hard, overcome so much… ‘Please don’t let it be for nothing,’ I silently begged.
For 16 hours I was in pain, the labour seemed to last forever. ‘Your baby’s heart rate is dropping,’ the doctor said gently. ‘We need to get her out now.’
Oh God, she was fading fast.
As I was rushed into theatre for an emergency Caesarean, my own heart was pounding. Doctors and nurses surrounded me, talking urgently, but I barely heard what they were saying.
Finally, Mum gripped my hand hard. ‘She’s out! She’s here!’
‘Why isn’t she crying?’ I panicked, as doctors huddled round her.
A doctor turned to me, his face grave.
‘She’s not breathing. We’re doing everything we can…’
‘Please, just save her,’ I begged.
Eight minutes dragged by like years as another doctor stitched me back up. Then…
‘Congratulations,’ a midwife smiled. ‘You’ve got a gorgeous little girl. We’ve had to put her in an incubator on another ward, but she’s breathing.’
I burst into tears of relief.
‘I’m going to call her Hallie,’ I told Mum. ‘Will you go and see her for me?’
‘Of course,’ she smiled, gently kissing my forehead. ‘I’ll bring you a photo.’
Because I’d caught an infection I wasn’t allowed to even see my baby. But Mum put the pink teddy I’d bought for her in her incubator to keep her company.
‘It’s bigger than she is,’ I gasped, seeing a Polaroid of my gorgeous girl.
‘She weighs 3lb,’ Mum smiled softly. ‘She’s about the size of my hand.’
I couldn’t stop gazing at her photo. She was so tiny, but so lovely and perfect.
My joy was short-lived though. ‘Hallie’s lungs seem fine,’ a doctor said. ‘But she’s picked up the E coli bacteria. We’ve put her on a
course of antibiotics, but they might not work.’
I couldn’t believe this was happening. My baby had proved doctors wrong after they’d advised a termination, survived being born two months early… now this! Bad things really did come in threes.
‘Let’s just hope it’s third time lucky,’ I prayed.
The next morning, I was finally allowed to see my beautiful girl. She was so tiny. What if I broke her? Gently, oh so gently, I picked her up. Bless her, she was so light I could barely feel her. And her skin – it was as soft as a petal!
All I could do was pray that she was tougher than she seemed.
‘You can do it, sweetie,’ I whispered. ‘We’ll get through this.’
Her tiny hand curled halfway around my little finger in response. ‘Shall we shake on it?’ I chuckled. It was a deal, she was going to make it.
We had to wait five whole days before the doctors could tell us if the antibiotics had worked, but every time I looked at Hallie, I knew there was nothing to worry about. She was a fighter. Thinking positively had got me through so far, why stop now?
At the end of the week, the doctor confirmed what I already knew. ‘Hallie’s going to be fine,’ he smiled. ‘The antibiotics did the trick. She’ll have to stay in so we can monitor her for a few more weeks, but soon as she’s feeding normally and her weight’s up, you can take her home.’
Three weeks later, she was out of her incubator! And after another two she was home with me.
Now, Hallie is two and we’ve moved into our own house. She’s turned into such a beautiful little girl, and I’ve nicknamed her Little Miss Miracle because she defied the odds.
I feel sick when I think I could have so easily had an abortion. But as they say, good things come in threes, and it’s true. Hallie survived a termination, being born prematurely and E coli. What seemed at the time like a string of bad luck turned out to be proof of how special my girl is.
Sammi Watson, 19, Middlesbrough, Yorkshire