Costessey family’s thanks to hospital after baby is born three months early
When Freya Kemp entered the world three months early, her parents were scared to hold her immediately because she was so tiny.
Now Tracy Peacher and her partner Ryan Kemp can't get enough cuddles with their little girl who weighed just 2lb 3oz - a little heavier than a bag of sugar - when she was born.
Miss Peacher's baby bump had only started to show when she went into labour 13 weeks early.
However, her second child arrived at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital following a caesarean on March 4 to the surprise of her family who had been expecting the new arrival to come at the beginning of June.
Baby Freya, who is now 20-weeks-old and weighs 8lb 15oz, is now growing up quick at her parent's home in Costessey after spending almost half of her life in hospital.
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Her parents yesterday praised the 'excellent' care of the midwives and staff at the Colney hospital and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), where she spent the first eight and a half weeks of her life following her premature birth. They added that they hoped to do some sort of fundraising event for the unit in the future.
'They were amazing and really good. They did not just look after Freya, they looked after us as well and we could not have got through it without them. We felt like part of the staff when we were there,' she said.
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Miss Peacher said her pregnancy had been progressing well and her 20 week scan had been fine, despite staff telling her that she was expecting a boy.
However, during the 27th week of her pregnancy, she started experiencing heavy bleeding and upon arrival at the hospital on March 4, she was found to be 7cm dilated and at risk of having a breech birth. At 6.55pm Freya was born 13 weeks early.
'I straight away thought that she was not going to make it. The staff were reassuring me about her chances, but I was worrying and was beginning to think the worst. The staff are so used to seeing premature babies in NICU and I could not believe how many premature babies are born.'
'I could not hold her straight away and it was a good week after her birth that I held her because she was so fragile and I did not want to get her out of the incubator and I did not want to give her any germs. When I did hold her I wanted her out of the incubator every time,' she said.
The 30-year-old said she still did not know what caused the early labour, particularly as her first child, Dylan, who is now 21 months, was three days overdue.
Miss Peacher added that Freya was allowed to come home nine weeks after her birth weighing 4lb 10oz. She needs regular check-ups on a heart murmur, which is common amongst premature babies, but should correct itself without the need of an operation.
'Obviously, we knew what to expect because we had Dylan, but because she was so tiny it was a lot scarier. It helped me a lot that I stayed in the hospital before she came home and I was given a room for four nights where I could be on my own with her for the first time.'
'When people see her they expect us to say she is a few weeks old and they are quite shocked when we tell them how old she is. I think a lot of our neighbours have wondered where she came from because my baby bump had only started to show,' she said.