'˜Miracle' West Lothian baby born four months early nears second birthday
One-year-old Emily Clark weighed less than a bag of sugar when she was born, and needed a constant oxygen supply and several blood transfusions.
Charlene, 34, a part-time housing support assistant, had been trying for several years to have children but tragically suffered miscarriages.
After losing a baby in 2014, Charlene was in the process of beginning fertility treatment when she found out she was pregnant again just three months after the miscarriage.
She could not believe her luck that she had been given another chance at having a child, but her hopes were soon took a turn for the worse.
Doctors warned Emily may not make it through the pregnancy, and that if she was born before the 24-week mark, she only had a 20 per cent chance of survival.
Charlene said: “I had problems with conceiving and I had previous miscarriages.
“With Emily, I was actually around 12 weeks pregnant before I found out I was pregnant with her.
“I was in shock when I found out, I couldn’t believe I was pregnant again as this was only three months after a miscarriage.
“Of course, Emily didn’t make it through the whole pregnancy and was born just three months after I first found out.
“Under 24 weeks, the survival rate for babies drops by 20 per cent, and I really worried that I would give birth before then and lose her.
“I felt so relieved that she reached the 24-week mark as it increased her chances of survival.
“She still had problems when she was born though. It was terrifying.”
Emily was born on March 18, 2015 - four months earlier than her July 7 due date - and weighed just 1lb 6oz.
She was forced to spend more than 100 days in hospital while doctors desperately tried to keep her alive.
Charlene described the problems that she and Emily had to deal with after her birth.
She said: “Emily had jaundice and needed blood transfusions, and was on oxygen.
“She was born breach as well and doctors only gave her a 50 per cent chance of survival.
“She only weighed 1lb 6oz, which is less than a bag of sugar.
“After Emily was born, I also had my own problems.
“I was very unwell for a week. My blood pressure was constantly up and down, and I could barely walk.
“I was absolutely exhausted and really stressed, and at night I was scared to go to sleep in case anything went wrong with Emily.
“The doctors and the nurses were absolutely fantastic though, and they helped me so much. I really don’t know how I would have coped without them.”
Despite all the difficulties she faced, Emily miraculously pulled through and her development accelerated.
As her second birthday nears, the tot is learning to talk and she is already running around Charlene’s house like any other toddler.
Charlene, who is raising Emily on her own, added: “She pulled through and she was very lucky. I feel so lucky to have her.
“Since the difficulties she faced early on, Emily has really come on leaps and bounds.
“Her hearing is fine, she is learning to talk now and she runs about everywhere. She’s just a great wee girl.
“Nothing could be better for her now and the doctors were really impressed with her progress.
“I’m so thankful given what she went through at the time. I am so proud of her.”
Throughout the ordeal, Charlene was offered support by the doctors and nurses at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, as well as her work colleagues.
She donated her placenta to the hospital in order for it to be examined ahead of future premature births at the hospital.