“SHE’S our little miracle.”
Proud parents Donna Pickering and Adam Wilson today told of their joy as the precious daughter they thought they would never have celebrates her first birthday.
When Donna, 24, went into labour just 26 weeks into her pregnancy she feared the worst, having already lost two children through premature births.
Doctors performed an emergency Caesarean section on Donna, of Coley Terrace, Fulwell.
Born weighing just 2lbs 2oz, Katie was taken to the intensive care unit where she was put on ventilation in an incubator to keep her alive.
“It was tough, really tough,” Donna, now a full-time mum, said.
“She’s our daughter and knowing there’s nothing you can do for her was awful.
“I felt so guilty and knowing we had already lost two babies made it even worse.”
For almost three months, Katie’s devoted parents spent hours every day watching over her as they prayed for a miracle to keep her alive.
Donna said: “Every day for those 11 weeks we visited the hospital and we were there for eight hours a day, if not more.
“It was horrible seeing her there, but she had to have her body temperature maintained, oxygen and food to help her get her strength up.”
After 11 weeks and five days, Donna and Adam received the news that Katie was finally allowed home after spending her first Christmas in hospital.
“It was amazing bringing her home after all that time,” said Donna.
“When I was walking out of that hospital door I was crying my eyes out.
“We’d lost our two other babies, so walking out of that hospital with Katie was a miracle.
“It was daunting at the same time because she came home with oxygen.
“The fact that she had been born premature and was so vulnerable was very scary but we got on with it.”
Sales assistant Adam, 24, added: “It’s what we’d wanted for such a long time so it was brilliant.”
In 2007, Donna fell pregnant but in January 2008, at six months, she had a miscarriage.
And in another cruel blow, in February 2010 Donna went into labour at 24 weeks but after two days her baby died.
Donna said: “After all that we never thought we’d get to this day. To celebrate Katie’s first birthday is amazing.
“Katie is my silver lining after the dark clouds, and after all the heartache we went through to have her is fantastic.
“The doctors say she’s doing really well and is nine-month corrected, which means she is developing in line with a nine-month-old, which is how old she should be.”
Donna and Adam would like to thank all the staff at Sunderland Royal Hospital who supported them.