Cheri Price, 22, from Middlesbrough, spoke about her daughter’s fight against the odds after being born prematurely. The baby was so premature that the brain was literally visible through her skin.
When Hailie Dillon was born, she weighed 1lb 2ozs, she suffered a collapsed lung and seven minutes without breathing.
Her mother was able to touch her only after 18 days after the birth as she was kept in the incubator at James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough.
Cheri, from the Isle of Wight, said: ‘When Hailie was born, it sounds bad to say it, but she looked like a red alien.
‘She was still in the foetus stage and she didn’t look like a baby at all – we couldn’t believe she even survived.
‘From birth she was put in an incubator and we couldn’t touch her – but we could see all the veins of her brain through her red skin.’
The contractions began in January last year, but the local hospital was not able to deal with such a premature birth. So, she decided to go with boyfriend Timothy Dillon, 32, to give birth in Darlington Teesside so they would be nearer his brother who could help them with looking after their 11-month-old son Jack.
Cheri suffered with contractions throughout the 300-mile, eight-hour journey via ferry and then train on February 6, 2017.
After a fortnight in and out of hospital in Middlesbrough, Cheri was then ready to head back down south to have the baby on the island because was looking at surpassing the 24 week mark.
Cheri said: ‘We just thought we would take the chance at a larger hospital – and we were closer to relatives so they could help with childcare for Jack.
‘I was discharged – but then my waters broke while I was watching Hollyoaks two days later.’
She added: ‘I’m so proud of her, what we’ve been through and what she has been through has been horrendous.’
Cheri, along with NHS Mental Health support worker Timothy then experienced terrifying three months at staff accommodation at James Cook University hospital in Middlesbrough.
However, Hailie was yet to open her eyes and there was a possibility of being blind permanently as her retina was developing as expected. She was diagnosed with stage three ROP (Retinopathy of prematurity) and had to visit specialist hospitals back down south by private plane.
The baby was then taken to Princess Anne hospital in Southampton and then to the Portsmouth Queen Alexandria hospital. Luckily, the visit paid off and they saved her sight.
She was finally allowed home on June 19 last year – two days after her actual due date.
Cheri, who is a full-time mother and carer to her eldest child Liam Price, seven, who has ADHD, said she is no longer planning on having any more children.
‘Timothy is definitely getting the snip now – I’ve said no more kids, he now has four kids, two from a previous relationship, so that’s it now – he’s agreed,’ Cheri said.
Adding: ‘Hopefully next year he can treat me to somewhere away from hospitals.’
Hopefully, they will have a great time very soon along with the new born baby.