MIRACLE baby Ella-Jai Harvey is proving her proud parents were right to give her the chance of life.
Five weeks before Ella-Jai was born, her parents Toni-Louise Hubbart and Daniel Harvey were advised to abort their baby because she had developed hydrocephalus – also known as water on the brain.
Now aged six months, the couple’s little miracle is doing well, and her parents are confident a happy and healthy future lies ahead for her.
Hydrocephalus is caused by a build-up of spinal fluid, and the condition was discovered by a routine growth scan, five weeks before Toni-Louise’s due date.
The couple were given the option of a termination, but after more tests, decided to go ahead with the pregnancy, and little Ella-Jai was born on September 16, weighing 8lb 1oz.
Toni-Louise, 23, from Grange Road, Jarrow, said: “It doesn’t bear thinking about what would have happened if we had decided on the termination.
“It all came as such a shock. My other scans had been fine, and this was picked up just five weeks before I was due.
“We were given the options, and Daniel and I knew we had to go through with the pregnancy, even though the doctors had explained that she could have disabilities.
“But now that she’s here, Ella-Jai is doing fantastic, she’s meeting all the markers she should be, and she’s great.”
When she was just two days old, Ella-Jai had a device called a shunt placed in her head at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, to help drain away the fluid on her brain.
If left, it could have led to brain damage, a loss in mental and physical abilities, and even death.
Ella-Jai now has a special pressure gauge in her head, which has a tube that feeds into her stomach to alleviate any further build-up of fluid.
The couple have decided to raise cash for the Royal Victoria Infirmary’s Tiny Lives fund, as a way of saying “thank you” to medical staff.
Toni-Louise said: “The problem she has will never go away, but this drain goes from her head, down behind her ear and into her tummy, so it means there will never be a build-up.
“We were going back to the hospital every week for checks at first, but the last time we were told we didn’t have to return for three months because everything was going so well.”
Ella-Jai has also been receiving physiotherapy on her neck muscles, as children with her condition often have a weakness in this area.
However, her parents are confident about the future.
Toni-Louise added: “She’s just like any other baby her age, she’s doing all the things she should be.
“We’ve been told her condition was down to a case of bad luck, it’s not been caused by genetics or an infection.
“We just know we definitely made the right decision to keep her.”
ELLA-JAI’S family are organising a charity event to help raise funds for the hospital which cared for her.
Grandad Martin Hubbart, from South Shields, has planned the night, with the help of family and friends, and it will be held on Saturday at the Perseverance Social Club, in Whitehead Street, Tyne Dock, South Shields.
The evening will begin at 7pm and the bands Revival and Scarlet Conviction will be performing.
There will also be a range of raffle prizes to be won.
Tickets, which cost £3, can be bought on the door and all money raised will go toward the Royal Victoria Infirmary’s Tiny Lives charity. The organisation helps premature and sick newborn babies, their mothers and families, who are staying in the Newcastle hospital’s special care baby unit.
Toni-Louise said: “When the regulars heard that Ella-Jai hadn’t been too good, they decided they wanted to do a fundraiser.
“So, they asked which charity we’d like the cash to go to, and we thought Tiny Lives would be the most fitting.
“When she was born she was taken to the unit right away, but after lots of tests and scans, she was brought back to me later that day because she was doing so well.”