My 1lb baby, the size of a syringe!
A premature baby born the size of a syringe and weighing just 1lb proved doctors wrong, who believed she had a 90% chance of dying.
Baby Eden impressed everyone when she pulled through weeks of touch-and-go moments and is now a happy, healthy two-year-old.
Mum-of-two Francesca Wood, 30, from Canterbury, was 26 weeks pregnant when she woke up in a pool of blood and told her daughter had to be delivered immediately.
In theatre, an anaesthetist took photos of the 1lb baby being pulled from the womb for the mother to keep, in case her baby didn’t survive.
Miraculously though Eden is fighting fit with no problems, something Francesca thought she might never see.
Speaking of the moment she woke up bleeding, Ms Wood said: ‘My first thought was how I would tell my son Oakley that he would never meet his sister. He had been so excited to become a big brother.’
Francesca was told her baby had to be delivered immediately and was rushed into theatre where 20 medical professionals were there to attend to her.
‘It was so frightening to be surrounded by so many doctors and to be giving birth three months prematurely. I had no option but to trust them to save my daughter.’
‘She was delivered by emergency C-section weighing just one tiny pound and the anaesthetist took photos of her born for me, in case she didn’t survive.’
‘I wasn’t allowed to hold her and only got to touch her hand quickly before she was whisked off to NICU.’
The day Francesca started bleeding, she was already at St Thomas’ Hospital in London after being admitted at 21 weeks pregnant.
Ms Wood was diagnosed with antisynthetase syndrome after having her eldest child, Oakley, a rare inflammatory muscle disease.
‘While pregnant with Eden, the condition I have was making me short of breath and causing muscle weakness.’
‘I was admitted and put on bed rest so I could be monitored closely. I was told I wasn’t going anywhere until the baby was born.’
‘At 26 weeks, I woke up feeling warm and the sheets were wet. At first I thought I’d wet myself but when I pulled back the sheets and saw a pool of blood, I started panicking. I was sure I was losing Eden.’
‘I was devastated. Especially because she felt like a miracle to me already. I had previously been told it was extremely unlikely I would have any more kids after Oakley, because I’d had one fallopian tube removed and the other was blocked.’
‘It had always been a dream of mine to have a big family, so when I fell pregnant by chance with her I was over the moon.’
Francesca, who is no longer with the fathers of her children, says seven-year-old son Oakley was her rock throughout her latest pregnancy.
‘Oakley couldn’t wait to meet his baby sister. He was always saying ‘Mummy let me feel your tummy’ and played music for her, choosing songs and putting a headphone on my bellybutton. He was in love with her before she was even born.’
After Eden was delivered by emergency C-section, she was put in an incubator and hooked up to a ventilator, while her mother was sent to ICU herself.
‘I spent a night in the ICU for monitoring as I had lost a lot of blood and the epidural had punctured my spine. I kept saying to everyone, ‘All I want is to see my baby’. It was an agonising two days before I finally got to meet my princess.’
Francesca was taken to the NICU in Evelina London Children’s Hospital, where Eden was being cared for.
‘She may have been tiny but she was so perfect. The doctors said she had a 90% chance of dying because her lungs were not nearly as matured as they should have been. But as the seconds, minutes and hours ticked by, Eden proved us all wrong.’
‘I can’t thank the staff at the Evelina enough. I owe the team of doctors and nurses there for saving my daughter’s life.’
When Eden was one week old, Francesca held her for the first time.
‘She was placed on me, skin-to-skin, and it was a feeling like no other. It was like holding a baby animal. She was very fragile and was attached to lots of wires. I was so in love but constantly worried about getting too emotionally attached, in case the worst happened.’
‘At the beginning, it wasn't even a case of take each day as it comes, we had to take it hour by hour. Things could change by the second and she sometimes stopped breathing. I learnt to rub her tummy to get her breathing again.’
‘She continued to get stronger and none of us could believe how well she was doing. Amazingly, she came home four weeks before her due date when she was 4lbs.’
From the moment Oakley and Eden met, they developed a strong bond as brother and sister.
‘When Oakley met her, they connected straightaway and he wanted to do everything with her. He helped feed her, change her nappies and he also wanted to play with her all the time.’
‘Oakley adores his sister and I find myself worrying more about my son than I do my daughter – she is a real fighter and been through so much already, I know she can deal with anything!
Francesca says she will never forget what she and two-year-old Eden went through, and that no one would ever guess her daughter was born three months early.
‘Eden has defied the doctors her whole short life. With regards to her development, you would never think she was only half-cooked when she was born, or that she had been through such a traumatic start to life. She is a happy, crazy beautiful and funny little soul.’
‘When I look back at the newborn photos of her, I remember how scared I felt. It was a very tense and rocky time, especially with the medical teams telling me her percentage of survival was next to none. Yet she defied all odds and made each step look easy. It will always amaze me how she managed to survive.’
‘I am not as healthy as I’d like to be and often struggle with my muscle disease, but I am determined to stay around to watch her and Oakley grow up together.’