When Andrea and Barry Pherson’s daughter Mia was just three months old, they were told to prepare for the worst.
Their tiny daughter, who had been born at under 26 weeks, was fighting to breathe and had to be resuscitated using cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
In fact, in the space of five months, Mia stopped breathing six times and needed seven blood transfusions.
Today, the four-year-old is a bundle of energy having just enjoyed her first few days in primary one at Millington Primary School in Portadown.
Despite the grim predictions that she might never walk or talk and could be deaf or blind, Mia is “full of devilment”, attends ballet class and has started musical theatre.
Andrea said: “She is a wee miracle. Starting P1 is a milestone I never thought we would reach and I do feel very emotional when I think about it.”
Andrea’s first pregnancy was textbook perfect – her daughter Emma, now seven, was born just one day early weighing 9lb 6oz and the birth was straightforward.
However, this did not prepare them for the trauma of the birth of Mia.
After Emma’s birth Andrea had part of her womb removed after a smear revealed she was one stage from cervical cancer.
At 24 weeks into her second pregnancy, Andrea’s waters broke and she was rushed to Craigavon Hospital.
Doctors hoped to delay labour until at least 27 weeks, but Mia was born in the Royal Victoria Hospital at 25 weeks and five days, during which she suffered a bleed on the brain.
Said Andrea: “She weighed just 1lb 7oz and her dad’s wedding ring could fit over her wrist. I wasn’t allowed to see her for 24 hours as I needed medical treatment myself.”
Mia remained in the neonatal unit at Craigavon for more than four months, and chronic lung disease is a lasting effect of her troubled birth.
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