THE mum who criticised plans by Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board to axe longer term intensive care at the hospital that saved her baby daughter’s life six times has told her family’s amazing story.
Claire Ormrod gave birth twice in just eight months.
Medics, friends, family - and her partner Gareth Gee – have been stunned at the “medical impossibility” of the two babies so close together.
Little Alice and Gareth will be in the same class when they start at Ysgol Mair RC Primary, Rhyl.
Claire, 26, of Ellis Avenue, Rhyl, had tiny baby Alice Gee on December 6, 2011, at 25 weeks, by emergency caesarean. Alice was a miracle tot, who weighed in at just 1lb 3oz - the smallest baby born in Wales.
She defied doctors, who were convinced she wouldn’t survive.
She was so ill that the family had started arranging her funeral, gave her a rush baptism and were 90 minutes from switching off her life support machine when she showed her first signs of life.
Seven weeks later Claire fell pregnant again, despite being on the pill, and had healthy baby Gareth Gee, weighing exactly 2lbs, at 29 weeks, also by emergency Caesarean, on September 7 2012.
“I was absolutely petrified when I found out I was pregnant again,” said Claire.
“My GP said I should have a termination, he said it would end up killing me and the baby and that it wouldn’t be fair to put me through it. But I said no, straight out.”
Claire, who jointly runs North West Martial Arts with partner Gareth, 36, has three older children; Molly, aged seven; Jack, aged five and Charlie, aged two.
All five were conceived in spite of precautions.
“No one could belive it when we told them I was pregnant again,” said Claire.
“They just couldn’t their heads round the fact that the two babies would be so close together.
“With every one of my children I was on the pill or the coil,” said Claire. “I was on the waiting list to be sterilised when I fell pregnant with Gareth. The coil is supposed to be 99.99% effective and I was on it when I had three of my children.
Little Alice spent her first year in the special care baby unit at Glan Clwyd Hospital.
Claire said that had she born a day earlier – at 24 weeks – doctors wouldn’t have even tried to save her.
“She would have been a 24-week baby and they wouldn’t have thought she had a chance,”she said.
Alice has been left brain damaged after a bleed in her liver, also suffers from necrotizing enterocolitis which affects the lining of the intestinal wall and milk curd obstruction which causes neonatal bowel obstruction.
She has been treated in Alder Hey Hospital and in Birmingham, where she was an hour and a half away from having her life-support machine turned off.
“She was so ill that we had to start arranging her funeral,” said five Claire.
“They were going to turn off her life support machine, they said she couldn’t survive.
“One hour before they were about to turn it off she woke up, then she started breathing on her own.
“She is a miracle baby, she is a fighter. They told us there was no brain activity and then she woke up.”
Alice, now 13 months old, weighs 12lbs 14oz. Doctors can’t yet determine what degree of brain damage she suffered. Her little brother Gareth, just over four months old, is now about the weight he would have been at full-term birth.