THIS is the touching moment the mother of the UK’s youngest surviving baby got to hold her daughter for the first time.
Claire Cressey said cuddling and kissing baby Emily – born at 24 weeks – was “the best moment of my life”.
And Claire, 34, from Coldstream, Scottish Borders, enjoyed precious 20 minutes with her daughter on the best of all possible days – Mothering Sunday.
Emily, who weighed just 1lb 3oz when she was born on February 27, could legally have been aborted.
But after receiving “fantastic” care at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, the tot is thriving and now weighs just over 1lb 10oz.
The mother-of-four admitted she was physically sick on Sunday morning because she was so worried something might go wrong when Emily was taken out of her incubator.
But the planned 10-minute cuddle was stretched to 20 minutes because Emily responded so well to her mother’s touch, maintaining an even heart rate and temperature throughout.
A delighted Claire said: “I’ve waited for over a month to be able to hold her and it is something I will remember for the rest of my life.
“I cried before the nurse even took her out, it was so emotional, I’ve never experienced anything like it before.
“She snuggled up to my chest and fell asleep, the nurses kept checking her heartbeat and temperature and they were fine so I got longer with her than expected.”
Claire added: “It was very scary. She is so tiny, she can fit in the palm of your hand. I was scared something might go wrong but she coped really well.
“Actually holding her was quite a shock because it was only then that I realised just how tiny she is.
“To me she is perfect and I’m very lucky.”
Baby Emily is being carefully watched and kept in a special incubator.
Claire’s partner, Alan Coultas, was not able to visit his daughter on Sunday because the couple could not find anyone to look after their children,
They are having to spend more than £110 a week on making the 100-mile round trip to the hospital, parking, and paying for childcare.
Kind-hearted members of the public are already donating towards the cost of visiting Emily.
Claire said: “She came so early that any money we had saved has now been spent. At this moment we are having to choose between petrol and food.”
Claire arrived at ERI with minutes to spare following the four-hour labour before whisking Emily off to the neonatal unit and placing her in an incubator.
At three-days-old, Emily was able to breathe by herself and doctors put her on a lower dependency CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine.
But ten days later, she started to struggle so doctors were forced to ventilate her again, a necessity not uncommon with babies born before 29 weeks.
The couple have been sharing Emily’s journey on a Facebook page, uploading photographs and daily updates on Emily’s condition, receiving messages of support from all over the world,
To donate please visit: http://www.gofundme.com/7oejkg