Tuesday, May 11, 2010
The baby and her identical twin were delivered prematurely to save the life of their mother, Kylee, who had developed a potentially fatal condition. Doctors feared neither girl would survive, but then Erin sent out a message of hope - by curling her tiny hand around her mother's finger and giving it a squeeze.
Mrs John, 26, said: 'It was a remarkable moment. My husband Steven captured it on camera. It was as though she was holding on to me, telling me she wasn't going to let go.'
Vital sign: Erin grabs her mother's finger
She was taken to hospital where the condition developed into the more serious Hellp Syndrome, where the body's organs start shutting down. Mrs John, of Bristol, said: 'It was touch and go whether I would survive, so even though I was only 24 weeks pregnant, the doctors decided they had to deliver the twins to save me.'
Erin was delivered first, weighing just 1Ib, followed by her smaller sister Sian at just 10 ounces.
Mrs John said: ‘When I had recovered, I was wheeled down to see the twins and I just couldn’t believe how tiny they both were.‘Their skin was completely translucent - they just didn’t look like babies at all. The doctors told us right from the start that Sian wasn’t going to survive as she was just too tiny.
Little fighter: Kylee John with Erin at home
‘They had to resuscitate her straight away, but they didn’t know if Erin would survive either as she only weighed just 1Ib.’When the twins were six days old they were both christened as the doctors didn’t think they were going to make it as they had taken a turn for the worse.
‘But they both hung on, and just two days later, Erin grabbed her mother’s finger and gave it a squeeze.
Mrs John said: ‘it really gave us hope. We didn’t think that Sian was going to survive, but when Erin touched my finger it was as though she was telling us she was going to be alright.’
Erin had to have an operation when she was six weeks old to close a duct in her heart.
Mrs John said: ‘She was still so tiny and to watch her going down for an operation was just heartbreaking.
‘But we knew it was her only chance of survival. It was nervewracking wait for her to come back up from the operation theatre, but luckily the operation was a success and she pulled through.’
When the twins two months old, tragedy struck. Whilst Erin was gaining strength, her sister started to fade away. Mrs John said: ‘It was heartbreaking. The doctors told her that it was only machines keeping her alive and there was nothing more they could do for her. Sian slipped away whilst we were by her side.’
Erin carried on gaining strength and she had laser eye surgery in April last year to stop her from going blind as she had been born so early the blood vessels in her eyes hadn’t developed properly.
Then in November last year, 11 months after she was born, she was finally allowed to come home.
Mrs John said: ‘It was wonderful to finally be able to bring her home after all those months in hospital.
‘She is still tiny for her age. She wears clothes for six to nine month old babies and she has to have physiotherapy to help her muscles develop but she is now sitting up, and starting to stand.
‘She has a good appetite and she is catching up now with other babies of her age. We are so proud of her.
‘She is one of the smallest babies ever to survive in Britain and she had a massive battle for survival. But she has come through it all - she may be tiny but she is a real fighter.’