Two years ago Jodie Read’s ‘whole world fell apart’ at what should have been the happiest time of her life.
She was 27 weeks pregnant with her and her husband Adrian’s first child after months battling to conceive.
But what had already been a turbulent pregnancy took a potentially disastrous turn when Jodie, of Cheadle Hulme, began feeling ill and medics’ investigations found her unborn baby’s heart rate had dipped.
She underwent an emergency caesarean and daughter Emily was born at Stepping Hill Hospital in February 2016.
She weighed just 1lb 13oz and was immediately whisked away from her parents to spend the next 21 days on a ventilator in intensive care.
Jodie, now 37, said:
Just as Emily appeared to be making progress she developed a stomach infection and was rushed back into intensive care.
Her condition required a lumbar puncture - where a needle is inserted into the spine.
This was done without breathing support as Emily had previously had so much of this that her lungs were already at risk of damage. Jodie, of Kings Road, said:
Even when Emily was eventually discharged a week before what should have been her due date - in May 2016 - there was more bad news.
By this point she weighed 4lb 4oz, still alarmingly little, and her parents were told she would have chronic lung disease and need oxygen at home. But once again she defied medical predictions - on both counts - and is now a healthy weight, being on the 25th centile for her age.
Having just turned two she can look forward to a regular childhood with Jodie and Adrian, 35, an environmental consultant.
After watching her brave daughter overcome so many problems Jodie nominated her for the little champion award organised by baby charity Tommy’s.
It's specifically for premature babies and Emily has been shortlisted. She'll find out if she wins at a ceremony at the Landmark Hotel, in London, on March 16.
Jodie and Adrian had their own battle to even have a child, starting IVF in summer 2015.
It was quickly successful but Jodie had a difficult pregnancy as she was anaemic, needed regular additional scans and bled every day. And whatever the outcome of the award she says Emily is her little star regardless.