Grimsby mum Jaz Smith has ᴀᴅᴍɪᴛᴛᴇᴅ that ɢɪᴠɪɴɢ ʙɪʀᴛʜ to her 1lb 15oz daughter Ayla-Grace was “the most sᴄᴀʀɪᴇsᴛ thing in the world”. Sharing her story, as part of World Pʀᴇᴍᴀᴛᴜʀɪᴛʏ Day today, Jaz told of how she and her baby, who ᴡᴀs ʙᴏʀɴ 14 weeks early weighing less than a bag of sugar, ʜᴀᴅ ᴛʜᴇɪʀ ʟɪᴠᴇs sᴀᴠᴇᴅ ʙʏ ǫᴜɪᴄᴋ-ᴛʜɪɴᴋɪɴɢ ᴅᴏᴄᴛᴏʀs ᴀɴᴅ ɴᴜʀsᴇs at Dɪᴀɴᴀ, Pʀɪɴᴄᴇss ᴏꜰ Wᴀʟᴇs Hᴏsᴘɪᴛᴀʟ in the Lincolnshire town. Ayla-Grace ᴡᴀs ʙᴏʀɴ on April 29 despite having been given a due date of August 3.
Her mum Jaz had been told that she had to ɢɪᴠᴇ ʙɪʀᴛʜ ᴘʀᴇᴍᴀᴛᴜʀᴇʟʏ after her ʟɪᴠᴇʀ sᴛᴀʀᴛᴇᴅ ꜰᴀɪʟɪɴɢ ᴅᴜᴇ ᴛᴏ ʜᴇʀ ᴘʟᴀᴄᴇɴᴛᴀ sᴇᴘᴀʀᴀᴛɪɴɢ ꜰʀᴏᴍ ᴛʜᴇ ᴡᴀʟʟ ᴏꜰ ᴛʜᴇ ᴜᴛᴇʀᴜs, which meant no ʙʟᴏᴏᴅ ᴡᴀs ꜰʟᴏᴡɪɴɢ to Ayla-Grace. Further ᴄᴏᴍᴘʟɪᴄᴀᴛɪᴏɴs followed when Ayla-Grace ᴡᴀs ʙᴏʀɴ ᴡɪᴛʜ ᴛʜᴇ ᴄᴏʀᴅ ᴡʀᴀᴘᴘᴇᴅ ᴀʀᴏᴜɴᴅ ʜᴇʀ ɴᴇᴄᴋ ꜰᴏᴜʀ ᴛɪᴍᴇs ᴏᴠᴇʀ and she also ʀᴇǫᴜɪʀᴇᴅ ʜᴇᴀʀᴛ sᴜʀɢᴇʀʏ ᴡɪᴛʜɪɴ ᴛʜᴇ ꜰɪʀsᴛ ꜰᴇᴡ ᴍᴏɴᴛʜs ᴏꜰ ʜᴇʀ ʟɪꜰᴇ. She still requires oxygen today, but her beaming mum says she is “absolutely thriving” now.
Jaz first knew something was wrong when she went to Dɪᴀɴᴀ Pʀɪɴᴄᴇss ᴏꜰ Wᴀʟᴇs Hᴏsᴘɪᴛᴀʟ ᴀꜰᴛᴇʀ ᴇxᴘᴇʀɪᴇɴᴄɪɴɢ sᴡᴇʟʟɪɴɢ. She said: “I was told it was too early to be ᴘʀᴇ-ᴇᴄʟᴀᴍᴘsɪᴀ by the ᴅᴏᴄᴛᴏʀs as I was only 24 weeks gone. And then the week after I rung the ʜᴏsᴘɪᴛᴀʟ again because my sᴡᴇʟʟɪɴɢ just wouldn’t go down. I was then ᴀᴅᴍɪᴛᴛᴇᴅ at 25 weeks and was in ʜᴏsᴘɪᴛᴀʟ for a week. For me that was the most hardest time because I wasn’t allowed to see my eldest son who was only three-years-old. I really struggled being away from him.”
Jaz was eventually ᴅɪᴀɢɴᴏsᴇᴅ ᴡɪᴛʜ ᴘʀᴇ-ᴇᴄʟᴀᴍᴘsɪᴀ and recalled how much ᴘᴀɪɴ ᴀɴᴅ ᴡᴏʀʀʏ sʜᴇ sᴜꜰꜰᴇʀᴇᴅ. She said: “My test results came back that I had ᴘʀᴇ-ᴇᴄʟᴀᴍᴘsɪᴀ and I was going to hit full ʙʟᴏᴡɴ ᴇᴄʟᴀᴍᴘsɪᴀ mode within seven to ten days. I ʙᴇɢɢᴇᴅ ᴛʜᴇ ᴅᴏᴄᴛᴏʀs to let me out and come in for daily checks but they kept me in one more night and that’s when my world got turned upside down. I was ᴛᴇʀʀɪꜰɪᴇᴅ and all I remember thinking was – I never thought this would happen to me. But when it does, it’s the most sᴄᴀʀɪᴇsᴛ thing in the world.”
Things then took a turn for the ᴡᴏʀsᴇ. Jaz recalled: “I had three ᴅᴏᴄᴛᴏʀs in my room at 2am in the morning listening to my daughter’s ʜᴇᴀʀᴛʙᴇᴀᴛ and they brought a sᴏɴᴏɢʀᴀᴘʜᴇʀ in to check her. In the process of that we found out that my ʟɪᴠᴇʀ ᴡᴀs ꜰᴀɪʟɪɴɢ ᴀɴᴅ I’ᴅ ʜᴀᴅ ᴀ ᴘʟᴀᴄᴇɴᴛᴀʟ ᴀʙʀᴜᴘᴛɪᴏɴ – a sᴇʀɪᴏᴜs ᴄᴏɴᴅɪᴛɪᴏɴ ɪɴ ᴡʜɪᴄʜ ᴛʜᴇ ᴘʟᴀᴄᴇɴᴛᴀ sᴇᴘᴀʀᴀᴛᴇs ꜰʀᴏᴍ ᴛʜᴇ ᴡᴀʟʟ ᴏꜰ ᴛʜᴇ ᴜᴛᴇʀᴜs ʙᴇꜰᴏʀᴇ ʙɪʀᴛʜ. My daughter had no ʙʟᴏᴏᴅ ꜰʟᴏᴡ and they’d said it had been like that for a good few days. They then told me that if we didn’t get her out soon, then she ᴡᴏᴜʟᴅɴ’ᴛ ᴍᴀᴋᴇ ɪᴛ ᴀɴᴅ ɴᴇɪᴛʜᴇʀ ᴡᴏᴜʟᴅ I.”
Jaz added: “I didn’t get to hold Ayla, I only got to hold her four days after she ᴡᴀs ʙᴏʀɴ – I ᴄʀɪᴇᴅ all the time. It was ʜᴇᴀʀᴛʙʀᴇᴀᴋɪɴɢ, I was ᴀɴɢʀʏ at the world. She had the [ᴜᴍʙɪʟɪᴄᴀʟ] ᴄᴏʀᴅ ᴡʀᴀᴘᴘᴇᴅ ᴀʀᴏᴜɴᴅ ʜᴇʀ ɴᴇᴄᴋ ꜰᴏᴜʀ ᴛɪᴍᴇs, and it took more than one person to get it off her.” ᴅᴏᴄᴛᴏʀs found the tot had a ʜᴏʟᴇ ɪɴ ʜᴇʀ ʜᴇᴀʀᴛ ᴛʜᴀᴛ ʜᴀᴅɴ’ᴛ ᴄʟᴏsᴇᴅ ᴀꜰᴛᴇʀ ʙɪʀᴛʜ and they tried during two sᴜʀɢᴇʀɪᴇs ᴏᴠᴇʀ ᴛᴡᴏ ᴅᴀʏs ᴛᴏ ᴄʟᴏsᴇ ᴛʜᴇ ʜᴏʟᴇ. Finally, ᴏᴘᴇɴ-ʜᴇᴀʀᴛ sᴜʀɢᴇʀʏ was suggested in July. Jasmine said: “I just ꜰᴇʟʟ ᴀᴘᴀʀᴛ because she was so ᴛɪɴʏ.”
Iɴᴄʀᴇᴅɪʙʟʏ, despite her ordeal, Ayla-Grace is a “happy little girl” – though she continues to have ᴄʜʀᴏɴɪᴄ ʟᴜɴɢ ᴅɪsᴇᴀsᴇ ᴀɴᴅ ʀᴇǫᴜɪʀᴇs ᴏxʏɢᴇɴ ᴄᴏɴsᴛᴀɴᴛʟʏ. Jasmine has been informed that her daughter will not always require oxygen and may be able to go without it by the time she turns one.