Premature baby inspires Scottish mum to become a firefighter

Jenna Campbell with her son Ashton, who was born 4 months premature. Picture: contributed.
Jenna Campbell with her son Ashton, who was born 4 months premature. Picture: contributed.
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A new mum has become a full time firefighter after being inspired by her son who was born four months premature.

Jemma Campbell, 27, was told she was suffering stomach cramps when she was rushed to hospital in December 2015.

Jenna with her son Ashton. Picture: contributed.

Jenna with her son Ashton. Picture: contributed.

But within hours she gave birth to baby boy Ashton – 14 weeks early and weighing just two pounds.

Jemma from Oban, Argyll & Bute said her miracle tot has now inspired her to help as many people as possible.

She said: “It was a scary time for me but we have come on leaps and bounds.

“Overcoming fear like that is a massive thing and it gives you an appreciation for things you never felt before.

Jenna Campbell. Picture: contributed.

Jenna Campbell. Picture: contributed.

“For me, it made me realise how precious life was and how much you should fight for it – that’s why I wanted to become a full-time firefighter.”

Jemma joined the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service as a trainee wholetime firefighter last month.

After recovering from her traumatic birth, she is now being put through a tough training regime at Cambuslang near Glasgow on tackling fires, giving CPR, responding to floods and cutting people free from car wrecks.

Two other squads are learning the same skills at training centres at Portlethen in Aberdeenshire and Thornton in Fife.Jemma And Ashton

Jemma, a former fitness coach, admitted the hardest part about training was being away from her son and long-term partner and electrical firm manager Andy Matthews, 23.

She said: “The team here is great and the instructors really know how to get the best out of you.

“I’m quite physically fit but there is always room for improvement.

“Being away Monday to Friday means I miss Andy and Ashton a lot.

“I leave Cambuslang and go back to Oban on a Friday night but have to come back on Sunday evening, so I just make sure that my day and half with them counts.

“It’s only for a couple of months and it will be worth it in the long-run.

“I couldn’t do it without the support of Andy, my family and friends who I know will helping care for our baby.”

As well as her work at a local gym, Jemma previously worked as a retained firefighter in Oban.

She stepped down from the part-time role after her premature labour meant she and Andy had to temporarily move house to be closer to their baby who spent his first four months in an intensive care unit at the Princess Royal Maternity hospital.

Jemma added: “The SFRS staff were amazing, so understanding.

“Being on a retained crew is a huge commitment as the crew and local people rely on you. I felt guilty about not being able to answer the pager but at the same time I had to take the time for Ashton.”

She added: “But for those who have got the time and the commitment to protect their communities, retained firefighting was what helped me onto the path I’m on now.”

The SFRS is also recruiting Retained Duty System firefighters throughout Scotland to help protect their communities.

Anyone interested in providing this vital emergency service is encouraged to apply.