Premature baby Jaime Walker spent three months in an ‘iron lung’ while her mum Joanne struggled for life alongside her after suffering septicaemia from a burst appendix.
Jaime was born at just 28 weeks when her mum collapsed in hospital after being admitted with agonising stomach pains. Joanne writhed on the floor before an emergency operation that removed her appendix and her baby.
Jaime weighed just 2lbs and was no bigger than her mother’s hand when Joanne was allowed to hold her two weeks later. Joanne spent four weeks in the Princess Royal Hospital with septicaemia and mother and baby were both lucky to survive.
Joanne, from Cuckfield, said: “I don’t think people really understand what it is like to have a premature baby unless you have been there yourself. We had a very traumatic time and saw some awful things, so to see your own premature child growing up is beyond all else.”
Jaime is now 15 and goes to Warden Park Academy in Cuckfield. When she was born she was unable to breathe unaided and was fed oxygen on a life-support machine. It was three months before doctors let her go home but she was not out of the woods. Joanne said: “The first day I got her home I had to call the paramedics because she stopped breathing and her lips went blue. It turned out to be a long reflux and by the time the ambulance arrived she had started breathing again.”
Joanne, 49, is now doing a 400-mile cycle challenge in Sri Lanka for the Genesis Research Trust, which funds research into women and babies’ health and why some pregnancies end in tragedy. She is asking companies and people to help her raise the minimum £3,500 sponsorship. You can donate at www.justgiving.com/Jo-Walker4 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org