Mum of baby born at 25 weeks in Cornwall urges others not to give up hope

Amara Clemence born at just 25 weeks
Credit: BPM Media

A mother from west Cornwall whose baby was born at just 25 weeks has urged others not to give up hope.

When Sarah Clemence's daughter Amara was born in 2009, doctors warned she only had a 20% chance fo survival.

Amara weighed just 1lb 14oz - less than a bag of sugar - but defied the odds and is now a happy and healthy 11-year-old.

Her mum Sarah said “Just before 24 weeks I went into labour and was taken to Royal Cornwall Hospital. My waters were bulging so I was rushed to Derriford and went into early labour.

“I saw a consultant who said if I had the baby and it showed no sign of trying to fight, they’d have to let it die. I wouldn’t wish hearing that on anyone.”

Sarah was given drugs to slow her labour down but nine days later Amara was born - just shy of 15 weeks before Sarah's due date.

“Amara’s head was the size of a satsuma," said Sarah. "Her skin was paper thin and see-through as she hadn’t developed property and her eyelids were a little fused.

“Amara had three bleeds on the brain and they (doctors) told me if she did survive she’d have very severe learning difficulties due to a lack of oxygen.

“To keep her alive, Amara had long lines of medicine through her bellybutton but then she got septicemia, blood poisoning.

Amara is now eleven and enjoys pony riding Credit: BPM Media

“The consultant said I needed to get the family together to say our goodbyes and that now was the time to christen Amara if I wanted her christened. I called my family and everyone rushed to say their goodbyes. Amara was christened when she was 18 days old.

“I was told Amara was going to die and that it was in her best interests to turn the machine off. If she did survive they said she may have had to have her legs amputated.

“They gave me 48 hours and said if there was no improvement in 48 hours that I needed to do the right thing.

“I agreed saying they needed to give her a chance. After 48 hours she came round, her platelet count shot up and she was fine. She really wanted to be here. She started to go pink again and the only thing lost was the end of one of her fingers.”

Amara was taken off a ventilator and transferred to the regular Royal Cornwall Hospital baby unit. She eventually went home a month before she was even due.

“She’s now 11 and leaving primary school at the top of her class. She rides her pony every day," added Sarah.

"Amara has done everything we were told she wouldn’t. When people think of premature babies they think doom and gloom, that they’re always blind or disabled. There’s never any positive stories.

“I want people to be aware premature babies can grow up healthy and that they shouldn’t give up hope. I don’t want to give the wrong impression that all premature babies will be fine but I want people to know they’re stronger and more resilient than we think."