A mum is raising money for ‘the best possible send off’ for her baby girl Aylah-Mae.
Aylah-Mae was born at 23 weeks, and despite not being expected to survive one day she fought for five months before she passed away.
Now mum Ashley Esagbona wants to hold ‘a celebration of her life’ and is asking for support to stage her daughter’s funeral.
Ashley, 22, became pregnant in November 2018.
She described the pregnancy as normal but did suffer severe migraines and sickness throughout.
She was away from her Beaumont Leys home visiting a friend in Coventry when she unexpectedly went into labour.
She said: “I was having cramps which woke me up at about 3.30am and they weren’t going away.
“I rang my mum who was in Leicester and she told me to ring 111 and tell them what was happening.”
So that’s what Ashley did – but at this point, as she was only 23 weeks pregnant, she did not think that she could possibly be going into labour.
“I was scared, it was so early.”
But she said she was told by the 111 call handler that she was displaying symptoms of labour and an ambulance was sent for her.
“I was scared, it was so early,” she said.
Ashley was transported to University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire – where she was told she was five to eight centimetres dilated.
She was given treatment to help slow down the birth, but it became too much and on March 26 Aylah-Mae was born after just 23 weeks.
She weighed only 490 grams when she arrived and Ashley said: “She was no bigger than my hand when she was born.”
She was not expected to survive a day by doctors due to how premature she was and she was taken by medical staff to the Neonatal Unit. According to the NHS babies born at 24 weeks and after are considered “viable” meaning it is possible from them to survive at this stage.
Because of how premature she was, Aylah-Mae had a hole in her heart and she was also born with Chronic Lung Disease meaning she needed assistance in order to breathe.
The tiny girl fought for five months at the hospital, and her mum said she was so proud of her.
She said: “One of the doctors had said that she was the smallest babies she had ever seen.
“She was doing everything she could and the nurses and doctors were doing everything they could for her.”
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But a week before she would have turned five months, Aylah-Mae became ill with a virus.
“She just got poorlier and poorlier, they were doing everything the could for her and I know that because I spent every day with them,” said Ashley. “Eventually the doctors said to me that ‘there’s nothing more we can do’.”
The night before she died, Ashley was allowed to have a “sleep over” with her daughter to say her goodbyes.
On the August 23, Aylah-Mae passed away.
Her family have been left to grieve and it has been difficult as expected.
But Ashley is proud of the way her daughter fought to beat the odds and live as long as she did.
Now the family have set up a GoFundme page to help fund her funeral.
“We want to give her the best send off possible, we want it to be a celebration of her life,” said Ashley.
So far the page has raised more than £800 and the family are grateful for all the support they have been given.
Any of the money left over will go to the Newborn Intensive Care Unit at the University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire for the incredible care they showed for Aylah-Mae.
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