How a young woman from Northern Ireland dealt with the aftermath of giving birth to her daughter, Chloe Rose, just 7 months into her pregnancy
- Isla's daughter Chloe Rose was born prematurely at the 29 weeks stage
- In the UK, around 60,000 babies are born prematurely every year – with more than 1 in 10 births occurring earlier than the predicted 37-week mark
- Weighing just 2lbs 4oz, the complications surrounding Chloe's birth came as a shock to Isla, who'd experienced a healthy first pregnancy
- But with the help of Belfast-based charity TinyLife, Isla has used several classes and support groups to help her cope with her 'incredibly difficult journey'
A Sudden Arrival
Research shows 10% of all pregnancies end in premature birth - but in Chloe's case, 29 weeks is considered "very premature"
When mother-of-one Isla became pregnant with her second child, she expected a smooth and healthy pregnancy, just like her first time around. However, the Northern-Irish native was shocked when she had a sudden onset of severe Pre-eclampsia just over 7 months into the pregnancy.
Pre-eclampsia – characterised by the onset of high blood pressure protein in the urine - can become apparent anywhere from 20 weeks on in the pregnancy timeline. But the disorder was the last thing that Isla expected.
Speaking of the experience, Isla recalls: 'My daughter Chloe Rose was born on 7th October 2014 at 29 weeks. She weighed just 2lbs 4 oz.
'Chloe Rose had to be delivered via emergency C-section. After having a very normal and healthy pregnancy with my first child, this completely shattered my world. You are never prepared for a scary journey like this.'
After the birth, Isla reports being afraid of all of the unknowns surrounding Chloe Rose's birth. She had an abundance of questions – but kept them inside for fear of the answers.
'This has been the only time in my life that I was afraid to Google anything,' explains Isla, speaking to the TinyLife website. 'My daughter's neonatal journey was very much one step forward, and two steps back.'
"You are never prepared for a scary journey like this."
- Isla, Chloe Rose's mother
Help and Support
As Isla continued to struggle with understanding the complications that had encircled her daughter's arrival, she realised she was going to need support to continue her life as normal.
This was where TinyLife were able to help the family.
The Belfast-based premature baby charity offer advice and support to those who have experienced the birth of a premature, disabled or ill child. It was these support services which were vital to Isla and her husband during the early years.
The charity also offers a range of classes and support groups, which Isla began attending with her tiny daughter. One class Isla frequently visited uses the longstanding parenting tradition of 'baby massage', popular in Africa and India, which sees the primary caregiver lovingly stroke and interact with their baby.
'I am extremely grateful to TinyLife for helping me get through this incredibly difficult journey,' shares Isla, reflecting on the help of the charity.
Premature births - defined as birth before the 37-week mark - is the leading cause of death among newborns
'The parents coffee mornings and the baby massage class got me out of the house at difficult times when the reality of what happened hit home.
'Unlike other Parent & Toddler groups the coffee mornings were my safe haven as I knew other parents understood my anxieties and could relate to my fears. Here we could compare and celebrate our babies, who were of similar gestation.'
TinyLife continue to help concerned parents across the region of Northern Ireland understand and cope with issues surrounding prematurity, and also continue to fund research into the areas of still birth, miscarriage and premature birth.
"The coffee mornings were my safe haven as I knew other parents understood my anxieties."
- Isla, Chloe Rose's mother