A mom who went into premature labor at 23 weeks was told by doctors that she was experiencing a late miscarriage and that her baby would not survive. But today, that little girl just celebrated her first birthday thanks to a decision to do everything possible to save her life.
In December 2021, Lily and David Walker were excitedly celebrating their pregnancy, having undergone an ultrasound and discovering they were having a girl. They were discussing names, ultimately choosing Ava, and making plans when Lily Walker began bleeding on Boxing Day, December 26, 2021. She was just 23 weeks pregnant.
The couple rushed to the hospital, where Walker was at first told everything was likely fine, and that she was just spotting. Two days later, however, things got worse, and she rushed back to the hospital. “I got into hospital and I felt something go pop – I now know it was my waters,” she said in an interview with the Mirror. “It had taken us three years to conceive, and we were obviously very nervous about the pregnancy. I had just started to relax after the scan, and then the unthinkable happened.”
Doctors said there was nothing to be done, the baby would not survive, and Walker would need to deliver the body of her daughter. They were given no hope for a positive outcome.
“One consultant told me, ‘We just class this as a late miscarriage.’ I was stunned, devastated – the room was spinning,” Walker continued. “She was my baby – we had already bonded and I already had that maternal instinct to protect her against all odds. I knew already that I would lay down my life for her even then. She went on to say that even in the unlikely event Ava did survive, she would be severely disabled.”
The outlook was apparently so poor that the doctors didn’t even hook up any monitors to track Ava’s heartbeat. But then Walker found out there was another option: an emergency C-section. It could help save Ava’s life, but it was a significant risk for Walker. She didn’t hesitate to put her baby’s life above her own.
“I was told to continue with a natural labour even though it wasn’t progressing. The doctors explained that a caesarean section would give Ava the best chance, but because of the way my placenta was lying, I would have been at higher risk of haemorrhaging and needing a hysterectomy,” she recalled. The consultant said: ‘You might lose the chance to have another baby if you have a caesarean.’ But I didn’t want another baby – I already had one and she needed me, so I insisted on doing everything they could to save her.”
Walker was put under general anesthesia for the C-section and woke up immediately concerned for her daughter. “I asked how my husband was, as he was obviously in bits the last time I had seen him, thinking he would lose both of us, and she said: ‘Aren’t you going to ask about yourself?'” Walker said. “But I knew I had a child to put first now.”
Ava weighed one pound, four ounces at birth, and underwent numerous medical procedures. But she pulled through, and a year later, she’s finally home with her parents.
“It’s been a rollercoaster of a year for us, and I can’t believe we are finally celebrating her birthday,” Walker said. “We struggled to get pregnant and it just felt like we would never get here, but we were determined to fight for our daughter. Ava is such an amazing little girl, full of life and smiles. You would never know everything she has been through. Last Christmas, we thought our world was falling apart. But this year, it’s been the best one ever.”