A mother has spoken candidly about how her daughter defied the odds of survival following a premature birth.
22-year-old Cheri Price went into labour when she was only 23 weeks and six days pregnant – to put it into perspective, it’s a day before the abortion cut-off point.
The birth of her daughter Hailie Dillon was so premature her brain was visible through her skin. She weighed only 1lb and 2oz and suffered a collapsed lung – for about seven minutes she couldn’t even breathe.
Her mother wasn’t even allowed to hold her for 18 days, following her birth on February 23rd at the James Cook Unversity Hospital in Middlesbrough last year.
Cheri, who’s from the Isle of Wight, told The Metro:
When Hailie was born, it sounds bad to say it, but she looked like a red alien.
She was still in the foetus stage and she didn’t look like a baby at all – we couldn’t believe she even survived.
From birth she was put in an incubator and we couldn’t touch her – but we could see all the veins of her brain through her red skin.
Cheri’s contractions began at the beginning of last year and her local hospital was ill-equipped to deal such an early birth. She and her boyfriend, Timothy Dillon, 32, decided to give birth to Hailie in Darlington Teesside so they could be nearer to members of their family who could look after their 11-month-old son Jack.
However during the 300-mile, eight-hour journey – which they made by ferry and then train – on February 6, 2017, Cherri began going through contractions. After two weeks going in and out of hospital up in Middlesbrough, Cherri and Timothy were ready to go back home to have the baby as it looked as if they would surpass the 24-week mark.
We just thought we would take the chance at a larger hospital – and we were closer to relatives so they could help with childcare for Jack.
I was discharged – but then my waters broke while I was watching Hollyoaks two days later.
I’m so proud of her, what we’ve been through and what she has been through has been horrendous.
The couple had to spend three painful months in staff accommodation at the university hospital while Hailie was being cared for. At one point things got really dire as their baby girl still hadn’t opened her eyes and faced the very real prospect of her being permanently blind because her retina was not developing properly.
Hailie was diagnosed with stage three ROP (Retinopathy of prematurity) and needed to be seen by specialists in hospitals back down south. She was first flown to the Princess Anne Hospital in Southampton, via private plane, before being treated at the Queen Alexandria Hospital, in Portsmouth, where she gained her sight.
On June 19th 2017, Cheri and Timothy were finally allowed to bring her home – two days after her actual due date. Cheri told The Metro she plans on not having any more children following their ordeal with Hailie.
She jokingly added:
Timothy is definitely getting the snip now – I’ve said no more kids, he now has four kids, two from a previous relationship, so that’s it now – he’s agreed.
Hopefully next year he can treat me to somewhere away from hospitals.
Well done Hailie, you’re not only a survivor – you’re a real fighter.