Caryss Morrison-Wynne (25) and her partner Luke McInnes (27) went through anguish with their daughter Ffion McInnes, who was born eight weeks early and spent the first five weeks of her life in hospital.
Here Caryss, of Logan Street, tells their story: “Ffion McInnes was born eight weeks early and spent the first five weeks of her life in hospital.
“I was diagnosed with suspected preeclampsia when I was 25 weeks pregnant - I had no idea what this was...or how serious it could potentially be for me and my baby.
“Gradually over the next five weeks my symptoms got worse - the main one being high blood pressure.
“When I was 30 weeks pregnant I was admitted to Leicester General Hospital where my unborn baby and I were closely monitored for two weeks.
“During these two weeks in hospital I spent my days Googling premature baby facts and the survival rate of babies born early. I joined online forums for support and tried to get my head around the fact I was going to have a premature baby - it was something I had never even contemplated and I had no idea what to expect.
“I was told by the doctors that they hoped to get me to 34 weeks.
“However, on January 23, when I was 32 weeks and 2 days pregnant, I had to have an emergency c-section... I had had a growth scan of the baby which showed that she had stopped growing and that she wasn’t receiving enough nutrients from me - she needed to be delivered as soon as possible.
“The scan also showed that the baby was too small to be delivered at the General hospital so we needed to be transferred to Leicester Royal Infirmary hospital where the Neo-natal unit had more specialist equipment.
“However, my blood pressure was now too high for me to travel.
“After one hour and no change in my blood pressure, the doctors made the difficult decision to send me in an ambulance despite the risks as that was where the baby needed to be.
“Two hours later Ffion was here - weighing 3lbs.
“Ffion’s first two weeks were spent on the high dependency Neo-natal unit at Leicester Royal Infirmary where she received around-the-clock care.
“Ffion needed help with her breathing, feeding and maintaining her temperature.
“I first saw my daughter 14 hours after her birth. I was wheeled down to the unit in my hospital bed.
“I peered into the incubator where my tiny helpless baby lay.
“It was difficult to see her through all the wires. She wasn’t wearing any clothes - just a tiny micro nappy.
“Her skin was so thin it was almost see-through. I watched her breathing - every breath taking all the energy she had and her whole chest inflating and deflating.
“I just wanted to hold her. I remember feeling like she must be scared as she had been away from me and my familiar voice so I sat by her incubator, telling her everything would be ok and that I was here and I loved her so much.
“The nurses at the LRI showed us how to handle her - because she wasn’t used to being touched she didn’t liked being stroked.
“We were taught to place one hand over her body and one hand on her head so that she felt secure.
“We were scared to do anything as she looked so fragile but the nurses gave us the confidence to do her ‘cares’ which included changing her nappy (which was hard due to all the wires!), taking her temperature and feeding her my breast milk through a tube.
“The cares were done every 6 hrs so not to use up too much of her energy - I loved doing her cares as it felt like the only thing I could do to help her.
“After 3 days I was able to hold her - our first cuddle lasted a couple of minutes then she needed to go back into the incubator for warmth.
“It was then I could really see her - look at her face, see the colour of her hair, look into her eyes.
“She held onto the tip of my little finger and I got to kiss her for the first time.
“Over the next couple of weeks I was able to take Ffion out of the incubator for ‘kangaroo care’ (skin on skin cuddles) every few days - these moments were very precious.
“I would place Ffion on my chest so she could listen to my heart beating as this would be familiar to her.
“When Ffion was 2 weeks old she was moved to the Special Care Neo-natal unit at Leicester General hospital.
“Everyday she grew stronger and eventually was moved into a cot and then into the nursery....I knew then it would be nearly home time!
“The amazing (and very patient!!) nurses and nursery nurses at the General hospital helped me to establish breast feeding Ffion - it took over 1 week for Ffion to become exclusively breast fed and I know I would have given up on this if it wasn’t for the support I received.
“On the February 27, after 5 weeks in hospital, we were able to take our baby home.
“I will never forget our time on the baby unit and I am so grateful to the doctors and nurses at both the Leicester Royal Infirmary and Leicester General hospital for making sure we got to take our daughter home.”