A baby girl born with an underdeveloped brain that was visible through her red transparent skin has defied the odds by celebrating her first birthday.
Cheri Price, 22, gave birth to her daughter Hailie Dillion when she was only 23 weeks and six days pregnant.
Born one day before the abortion legal cut-off limit, Hailie weighed only 1lb 2oz, and suffered a collapsed lung and went seven minutes without breathing.
“When Hailie was born, it sounds bad to say it, but she looked like a red alien,” Cheri said.
Cheri first began having contractions at 20 weeks, but the medical staff at St Mary’s hospital at Newport said they were unequipped to deal with such an early birth.
So, Cheri and her partner Timothy Dillon, 32, decided to have their child 300 miles away in Darlington Teesside in order to be closer to Timothy's brother who offered to help look after the couple's 11-month-old son Jack.
"We just thought we would take the chance at a larger hospital – and we were closer to relatives so they could help with childcare for Jack," Cheri explained.
"I was discharged – but then my waters broke while I was watching Hollyoaks two days later," she added. "I’m so proud of her, what we’ve been through and what she has been through has been horrendous."
Born in Middlesbrough, England in February 2017, it would take an agonizing 18 days until Cheri was allowed to hold her daughter.
"She was still in the fetus stage and she didn’t look like a baby at all – we couldn’t believe she even survived," Cheri said. "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."
However, Hailie would be facing a long road to recovery before she could go home.
Following Hailie's birth, she was unable to open her eyes after they had been fused together, and since her retina was not developing properly, Cheri and Timothy were told. She was diagnosed with stage three ROP (Retinopathy of prematurity) and had to fly back and fourth to various hospitals for specialized treatment.
However, thanks to a miracle, she's become a happy and healthy baby by her first birthday.
Luckily, the Portsmouth Queen Alexandria hospital were able to save the newborn's sight, and she was finally released into her parents' care on June 19 - two days after Cheri's expected due date.
Since Cheri's also a stay-at-home mother to her seven-year-old son Liam Price, who has ADHD, she said she has no plans on expanding her brood.
"Timothy is definitely getting the snip now – I’ve said no more kids, he now has four kids, two from a previous relationship, so that’s it now – he’s agreed," Cheri said.
"Hopefully next year he can treat me to somewhere away from hospitals," she added.
Have you or a loved one ever given birth to a premature baby?