A mum from Harrogate has given birth to her “miracle baby” Ava while on holiday in Lanzarote, just two weeks after the abortion limit in the UK.
Hairdresser, Kim Ellis, gave birth to her daughter three months early, at just 26 weeks gestation. Baby Ava weighed just 1lb 15oz.
Mum Kim decided to go away on holiday in October last year. She was pregnant but nowhere near full term so there should have been no issues with a short break in Lanzarote.
“We flew on October 6. I had been checked out and was about to go into my 25th week”, she said.
Suddenly, though, on what should have been her last day in Lanzarote, she started to experience back pain and found it hard to walk up the steps to her room.
“The baby wasn’t due until January 16, so I was wondering how I was going to cope until then. I felt like she was so low down, she was going to drop out!” Kim said.
Kim hadn’t realised it yet, but she was experiencing contractions, which became more intense during the night.
“I could feel her moving the whole time, so I wasn’t concerned at all. I just thought it was me”.
She called the hospital back in Harrogate at 2 a.m. but they thought it was likely a urinary infection. By 8 a.m. she had started to bleed and realised she needed immediate medical assistance. She was taken in an ambulance to the main hospital on the island, forty minutes away, and to her shock, was told that she was already 4cm dilated.
“The staff at the hospital were really positive, as obviously I was only 26 weeks. But they weren’t sure if the baby would have any health problems. However, they said she seemed really strong”.
As Kim got closer and closer to birth, hospital staff told her “not to be alarmed if [her baby] didn’t cry as she had weaker lungs. But when she came out she was crying and looking around at everybody”.
Baby Ava was then taken away and put on a ventilator. Both mum and baby were ready to be airlifted to a larger hospital with more facilities in Gran Canaria.
However, the doctors discovered Kim had been bleeding, so she was whisked off to the operation theatre.
“I got to see her for about 10 minutes before she got transferred to Gran Canaria, which was really hard. But I was just so relieved she was going to get the care she needed”.
Just two days later though, Kim managed to board a flight to be reunited with her daughter in Gran Canaria, where they both stayed to recuperate for six weeks.
Ava’s mum said: “We had to get Ava an emergency passport. I was quite scared to fly her back to the UK. But the plane was like a private jet with an amazing team, which included a neonatal doctor, nurse and two pilots”.
“I was so petrified, but it was like a military operation”.
Despite all the drama, Ava and her mum were getting all the time they needed and were both home for Christmas.
“We came out [of hospital] on December 21 just before Christmas, which was lovely. To be honest, I think I was still on adrenaline, as I somehow cooked a massive Christmas dinner”.
Kim is now trying to raise awareness about premature birth and the signs mums should recognise.
“Babies are surviving more now thanks to medical advancements, so I feel like there needs to be more out there”.
Right To Life UK spokesperson, Catherine Robinson, said: “Ava was born just two weeks after the abortion limit in the UK. The evidence shows that extremely premature babies (under 28 weeks) are surviving more frequently and that the chances of survival for babies born before 24 weeks are now better than ever”.