For sports journalist Sam, the stress of her first pregnancy weighed heavily on her heart when she found out she was pregnant for the second time. At the same scan just three years earlier, first-time parents Ben and Sam walked hand in hand into their obstetrics appointment, only to walk out feeling apprehensive - their little girl was measuring too small and premature birth was a real risk.
At 32-weeks, baby Imogen was delivered by an emergency C-section after Sam suffered from severe pre-eclampsia and a placenta abruption. She weighed just 1.3 kilograms.
After a life-threatening delivery, seven weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, five months on oxygen and two years of follow up specialist appointments, it was only natural that Sam was hesitant about having another baby. However, it was the dream of a second child and sibling for little Imogen that gave her and husband Ben enough courage to take their next leap of faith. But once again, their 19-week scan revealed another complication…
It was only in the months before Elle was born that Sam learned cleft lip and palates affect 1 in 700 newborns. The cleft occurs at eight to ten weeks in utero when the roof of the babies’ mouth doesn’t fuse together to close the natural gap.
Despite their initial fears and uncertainty, Elle was born safely albeit in the midst of COVID-19.
Four months later, Elle underwent her first of three procedures at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick, not to ‘fix her’ but to make her life more comfortable. By publicly sharing their story and posting photos throughout Elle’s journey, Sam hopes she can help normalise cleft palates.
To help other kids live their healthiest lives, donate to our Light Up Xmas appeal today. Every dollar, will help provide world-class care to the smallest of patients like baby Elle.