A grateful Wigan family has thanked hospital staff after their newest arrival came into the world six weeks premature.
Eliza Jones was delivered at 34 weeks, weighing just four pounds and two ounces, after mum Chelsey McNicholas was admitted to Wigan Infirmary with pre-eclampsia.
Eliza was rushed to an incubator and remained in the neo-natal unit for 19 days before being allowed to head for her Pemberton home with Chelsey and dad Andy Jones.
Seven months later Eliza is flourishing and the entire family has now lavished praise on the hospital’s employees, describing how they went the extra mile and saying they always felt in good hands at an alarming time.
Chelsey, 28, said: “They were like angels. Everything they did for us they did with such compassion.
“When she was upset they would get her out the incubator and cuddle her.
“I couldn’t do much for a while because I was very poorly so they provided the things I couldn’t.
“It’s a frightening and intense place with machines beeping all the time but Andy and I felt comfortable in that environment. I had to go to the maternity ward for treatment but when we were in the neo-natal unit we relaxed.”
Andy, 30, said: “I was scared. Eliza wasn’t the proper size and it was horrible seeing her with all the wires coming out of her. You couldn’t really see her face at first.
“The maternity and neo-natal teams both need to be thanked.
“We even went in one day and she had been awake in the night so they had dressed her in a Christmas outfit.
Granddad Andy Pierce, 54, added: “It’s not just a job to them. They are so dedicated. It’s about saying thank you for saving my granddaughter.”
Eliza was born without her swallowing reflexes fully developed and was also not breathing, spending her first days of life wearing a jaundice mask. Her family were also impressed by the facilities, which included spaces for parents to have a meal and a special overnight room where Andy, Chelsey and Eliza stayed under supervision to check they would be OK at home with her just before she was discharged.
Chelsey admitted she and Andy were a little stunned when the staff told them to pack bags as Eliza would be heading home the following day, because she still weighed less than five pounds when they left hospital.
However, she blossomed at home and is now around 15 lbs and enjoying solid food in addition to milk.
Andy and Chelsey thanked their grandparents, Andy and Sharon Pierce and Julie McNicholas, for supporting both them and each other through the difficult weeks when Eliza was in hospital.
Andy says he is now determined to give something back and is arranging a large raffle to raise as much money as possible for Wigan Infirmary.
Tickets are on sale, at £2 a strip, at five pubs, the Prince of Wales in Springfield, the Rock Ferry in Ince, The Caledonian in Bryn, the Eagle and Child in Ashton and Bryn Labour Club.
The draw will be made on August 11 at the Prince of Wales between 7pm and 9pm.
Andy says he will double any total raised up to £500.