A mother has spoken about her daughter’s battle against the odds after being born so premature that her brain was visible through her skin. Cheri Price, 22, went into labour at 23 weeks and six days – one day before the abortion cut-off point.
When Hailie Dillon was born, weighing 1lb 2ozs, she suffered a collapsed lung and seven minutes without breathing. It was another 18 days before her mother could hold her following her birth on February 23 at James Cook Hospital, Middlesbrough, last year. Cheri, from the Isle of Wight, said: ‘When Hailie was born, it sounds bad to say it, but she looked like a red alien.
‘She was still in the foetus stage and she didn’t look like a baby at all – we couldn’t believe she even survived. ‘From birth she was put in an incubator and we couldn’t touch her – but we could see all the veins of her brain through her red skin.’
Hailie had still not opened her eyes after they had been fused together – and she faced being permanently blind as her retina was not developing properly. She was diagnosed with stage three ROP (Retinopathy of prematurity) and had to visit specialist hospitals back down south by private plane.
The newborn was flown to Princess Anne hospital in Southampton and then later visited Portsmouth Queen Alexandria hospital – which eventually saved her sight. She was finally allowed home on June 19 last year – two days after her actual due date. Cheri, who is a full-time mother and carer to her eldest child Liam Price, seven, who has ADHD, said she is no longer planning on having any more children.