“Freya is quite a cheeky little person. She is chatty, happy and smiley. She loves people and will get a smile off anyone walking past!” says her proud mum Steph. “She also loves our Cavachon dog, Albert, and going swimming with her dad.”
With Freya now a year old, family life is relaxed and happy but things could have turned out very differently, because Freya was born three months early weighing just 2lbs 4oz after Steph developed a life-threatening pregnancy complication.
Steph’s symptoms, which included severe bleeding, a terrible headache and high blood pressure, were so worrying that her consultant decided to deliver Freya by emergency caesarean section at just 27 weeks and six days.
Freya’s delivery was complicated because she was so tiny but, thankfully, she was delivered safely.
“She didn’t breathe for a little while,” Steph says quietly. “It was completely surreal seeing her when they wheeled her next to me. She was wrapped in a towel with a teeny tiny hat on her head and a huge oxygen mask covering her face.”
The first cuddle with tiny Freya was, Steph says, ‘amazing but terrifying’. Freya’s first months of life were a rollercoaster of encouraging progress and terrifying setbacks, including fears that a deadly bowel disease may take hold and, with concerns about anaemia, the need for a blood transfusion. But little Freya recovered each time, gained weight, and was finally allowed home after nine weeks weighing 4lb 5oz.
Aware of Action’s work, Steph comments: “It’s fantastic to know that research is happening to help premature babies. We know so little about it and, as mums, we have a huge sense of guilt. And it’s so important to raise awareness of prematurity as it happens to so many people.”
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