After going into labor 13 weeks early, a mother who lost a son to stillbirth six years prior feared she may also lose her second child, a daughter. But although the newborn baby girl was so tiny that even dolls’ clothes didn’t fit, she proved to be a fighter.
With her baby now 5 months old, mom Channae Kirkwood of Kilmarnock, Scotland, says her little miracle daughter is thriving.
Baby Lacey came into the world at just 28 weeks and three days on July 14, at 7:30 in the morning.
“She was only 1 pound, 1 ounce, and smaller than a doll,” Channae, 23, told The Epoch Times. “I could just hold her in the palm of my hand, she was that small. I couldn’t believe the size of her.”
Channae, a carer, found out she was pregnant in early February when she was rushed to hospital by her fiancé, Jamie Murray, because of back and stomach pains. A urine sample confirmed both an infection and her pregnancy.
“We got a scan the next day,” said Channae, who recalls thinking Lacey looked like “a little tulip flower” in her first pictures.
Channae suffered with sickness in her second trimester, and was admitted to Kilmarnock’s Crosshouse Maternity Hospital for bleeding at 24 weeks. After being transferred to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Glasgow, she spent a week on bedrest, with cannulas, a magnesium drip, and steroids to help her unborn baby’s development.
Early labor, and a premature birth, meant Lacey was immediately whisked to the NICU, where her fight began.
“It was really hard … having to tell our family members that she might not make it,” Channae recalled. “Lacey had to get blood transfusions and lots of medicines. She was on oxygen for a while. It was heartbreaking; I thought I was going to lose another baby.”
Channae says she was scared to even touch her in case she hurt her.
But NICU staffers helped Channae and Jamie hold their baby girl, encouraging bonding through skin-to-skin contact. They taught them how to lift Lacey out of the incubator, change her nappy, and tube feed. Lacey went from strength to strength.
Channae posted a video montage of their amazing NICU journey on TikTok.
Despite many ups and downs, Lacey beat her prognosis. “She was our little fighter,” said Channae, who claims she doesn’t know what they would have done without the lifesaving intervention of their midwives and doctors.
Lacey’s hospital stay was especially traumatic for Channae as she’d lost a baby boy, Caleb John Stewart, to stillbirth on July 10, 2015. Channae was 16 at the time, and only found out she was pregnant at 10 weeks and five days.
“Around six weeks before, I got the injection to prevent pregnancy,” she recalled. “When I found out I was pregnant, I asked if the injection could cause any problems, but the doctors told me no.”
Channae said she went into early labor at 19 weeks, five days, and was offered a pill to slow the baby’s heart rate as the doctors “knew he wasn’t going to make it.” But she refused, as an ultrasound indicated her baby boy was still moving. She labored for five days, unwilling to give up.
Tragically, Caleb was stillborn.
Channae credits the support of her close friend, Emma, and family for getting her through the grief. Caleb would have been 6 this year, and his mother is philosophical; while his death was hard to cope with, she ultimately feels it made her stronger and helped her realize that “life isn’t all fairytales and games.”
Baby Lacey was discharged from hospital on Oct. 8. Her parents, delighted to return home, couldn’t wait to introduce her to family members who hadn’t been able to visit, owing to hospital restrictions.
“It was amazing; we got to ring the bell, it was the best feeling ever,” Channae recalled. “We are forever grateful. [The medical staff] are absolutely amazing at their jobs and deserve a medal.”
Channae, who is on maternity leave, and Jamie, a steel factory worker, say 5-month-old Lacey is doing well. It can still be a struggle to find clothes small enough to fit her, but she weighed in at 5 pounds, 13 ounces at her last appointment.
“She is a good baby; she loves a cuddle, she has such a cute little smile,” said Channae. “Everyone is shocked when they see her as they didn’t believe how small she really was, but she is amazing.”