A miracle baby survived 99 days in specialist care against the odds to celebrate her first birthday – but her mum thought labour pains were trapped wind.
Mum Beckie Frost, from Thorngumbald near Hull, is planning a big bash for daughter Elsie-May who was born on June 7 last year, at just 25 weeks and four days.
Pregnant dental Nurse Becky, 29, originally thought she just had trapped wind but things changed rapidly and she and her partner Joey Bilton, 29, ended up facing the prospect little Elsie-May might not even survive the birth.
When Beckie arrived at Hull Women and Children's Hospital she was examined, and she was shocked to find that she was already in labour, as she was six centimetres dilated with bulging membranes reports Hull Live.
She said: "I absolutely didn't think it was the start of labour. I thought it was trapped wind, it was just all in my back and it was coming and going. I had a bath while Joey was making my tea. But then when I went to the toilet there was a small amount of blood, so I rang the hospital."
Beckie was taken straight to the delivery suite, where doctors came to give the grim news. She continued: "They said there was a chance she might not make it, and she could also pass away before I delivered her, from the stress of the delivery.
"They asked if I wanted them to keep monitoring her heartbeat, which I did, so they checked every few minutes. I was terrified, but also I don't think I was really taking it all in, it was like a dream. It didn't really hit me until I called my mum to tell her."
Elsie-May was delivered just after midnight – four hours after they arrived at hospital – and let out "a weak cry". She weighed just 1lb 13oz.
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"She was born in her membranes, and looked like a little alien, she was red and see-through and gave this tiny weak cry," said Beckie.
The baby was immediately intubated, and Beckie got a glimpse of her for just "seconds" before she was whisked to the neo-natal intensive care ward. Elsie-May was doing really well for the first few days, but on the fourth day she went into a rapid decline.
Elsie-May had five centimetres of her intestines removed, after x-rays showed she had a perforation, but made a full recovery from the surgery. She initially had a stoma bag for collecting her waste which was reversed 12 weeks later.
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A Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), a congenital heart defect common in premature babies in which a vessel connecting the pulmonary artery to the descending aorta fails to close, eventually healed on its own.
After 99 days on the NICU ward, Elsie-May was finally allowed home with her parents on September 14 – one day before her due date. Beckie said leaving hospital with her daughter, who by now still only weighted 4lbs, was both exciting and "surreal".
She said: "We were nervous as she was only teeny tiny, but once we got her home and settled, it was as if she'd always been there. It was weird taking her out though, people would comment and day 'oh she's a new one' and I'd have to tell them that she was actually four months old."
Beckie and partner Joey, who will marry next year, are now planning a big celebration for Elsie-May's first birthday.
Despite being a little behind her milestones she's shown mum and dad the determination which got her through the birth has carried on outside hospital.
Beckie said: "She's got a huge personality, she rules the roost and absolutely knows what she wants. And she's got us wrapped around her little finger."
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