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The mother talks about how surprised she is to have a child that was born 14 weeks early and weighed less than a sugar bag.BLACK

A baby who was born 14 weeks early and weighed less than a bag of sugar has finally come home to her overjoyed family.

Jasmine Smith, 23, gave birth to Ayla-Grace with the new arrival weighing just 1lb 15oz.

The little tot still had three-and-a-half month to go until her due date.

But at Jasmine’s 24-week check-up, the Grimsby mum noticed she had developed swelling in her legs, ankles and hands.

She was told it was too early to be pre-eclampsia, a pregnancy complication that causes high blood pressure and signs of damage to another organ system.

A week later, she rang her midwife and mentioned the swelling and was advised to elevate her legs for two and half hours to see if that helped.

When nothing changed, she was admitted to Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital, in Grimsby where her health started to deteriorate quickly.

Doctors soon took the decision to deliver Ayla-Grace in a bid to save them both.

The baby needed around-the-clock care for many weeks
The baby needed around-the-clock care for many weeks

“My world got turned upside down and I was terrified,” Jasmine, a mum-of-two, explained. “All I remember thinking was ‘I never thought this would happen to me’.

“No one wants to think that this is going to happen to them but when it does it’s the scariest thing in the world!

“I had three doctors in my room at 2am listening to my daughter‘s heartbeat and they brought a sonographer in to check on her.

“My liver was failing and I’d had a placental abruption. My daughter had no blood flow.

“They then told me that if we didn’t get her out there and then she wasn’t going to make it and neither would I.”

Jasmine had to prepare to meet her daughter weeks earlier than planned.

She said: “The thought of giving birth early absolutely terrified me because of the survival rates. I knew that she would be so fragile and so tiny.”

Ayla was born via an emergency C-section with Jasmine given a general anaesthetic for the procedure.

“I didn’t get to hold Ayla, I only got to hold her four days after she was born – I cried all the time. It was heartbreaking, I was angry at the world.

“She had the [umbilical] cord wrapped around her neck four times, and it took more than one person to get it off her.”

Ayla-Grace was admitted to Hull’s Royal Infirmary neonatal unit for six weeks before being transferred to Scunthorpe General Hospital for a further three weeks, and then coming back to the Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital.

Doctors found the tot had a hole in her heart that hadn’t closed after birth and they tried during two surgeries over two days to close the hole.

Jasmine said: “I just fell apart because she was so tiny.”

After spending three weeks in neonatal intensive care following the surgery – where nurses even drew her pictures as mementos – Ayla-Grace was finally able to come home on her due date, and is now thriving.

Jasmine said: “It almost didn’t feel real when she came home because we spent the whole three and a half months in hospital.”

“It was also hard at first because I was scared of getting things wrong with Ayla-Grace’s medications.”

Incredibly, despite her ordeal, Ayla-Grace is a “happy little girl” – though she continues to have chronic lung disease and requires oxygen constantly.

Jasmine has been informed that her daughter will not always require oxygen and may be able to go without it by the time she turns one.

She added: “I honestly can’t thank the neonatal units enough for doing everything they could do for my daughter, especially the community nurses who work so hard to make sure she is still okay.”

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