A Penarth mum Katie Davenport and her husband Rhys have been talking publicly for the first time about the enormously difficult decision they had to make when serious problems arose during her pregnancy with twins.
Just 20 weeks into the pregnancy, doctors carrying out a routine scan discovered that one of twins was suffering from a number of severe abnormalities which would endanger the lives of both the unborn babies.
After careful consideration, they decided to accept the advice of their consultant – which was to abort the abnormal foetus so that the other healthy twin would have a slim chance of survival.
Although medical staff worked to try to prevent Mrs Davenport giving birth too early, she went into labour at 24 weeks – the absolute earliest it’s possible for a premature baby to survive.The tiny baby – whom they’ve named Tilly-Sue – was born 16 weeks early at the Heath Hospital in Cardiff weighing just 1 lb 9 oz. She was put immediately into an incubator with staff monitoring her and it was two days before Katie and her husband were able to see her.
There were several set-backs. Tilly-Sue’s weight dropped to 1lb 3oz, a ventilator had to be used to help her breathe and she picked up a chest and blood infection. At one point a lung collapsed. – And during it all Mr and Mrs Davenport were working and coping with their other four children.
But on Christmas Day last year (2015) Tilly-Sue was well enough to be cuddled by her mother for the first time . Mrs Davenport has told WalesonLine “I just sat there for hours and hours with Tilly on my chest, never wanting to put her down again. It felt like we’d finally turned a corner.”
Gradually the tiny baby grew stronger, began taking milk normally, was able to go home to her family and is now a happy and healthy baby girl with a first birthday coming up soon .
Mr and Mrs Davenport say “She’s definitely our little miracle .” and have paid tribute to all the hospital staff who helped her hang on to life.
They’re now backing the Children’s hospital charity Noah’s Ark which has launched a “Tiny Lives Appeal” aiming to raise £1,000,000 for a new neonatal unit at the University Hospital of Wales.