Premature baby born weighing less than Coke bottle celebrates first Christmas


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Roxanne was born at 28 weeks weighing just 1lb 14oz, but has fought the odds to be able to go home with her parents and sister to celebrate her first Christmas

Baby Roxanne was smaller than a bottle of Coke when she was two weeks old
Baby Roxanne was smaller than a bottle of Coke when she was two weeks old

When Rebekah Pegg and her partner Adam’s baby was born smaller than a Coke bottle in April they feared she might not be strong enough to make it to Christmas.

Roxanne arrived three months prematurely weighing only 1lb 14oz.

But to Rebekah and Adam’s joy, Roxanne has just celebrated her first Christmas with her parents and big sister, three-year-old Isabella.

Rebekah, 26, says: “There were some very scary moments when we didn’t know if Roxanne would survive.

“At two weeks old she was smaller than a bottle of Coke, she was so tiny and fragile I was scared to touch her.”

Roxanne was born at just 28 weeks
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When Rebekah Pegg and her partner Adam’s baby was born so early in April they feared she might not be strong enough
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And Rebekah, on maternity leave from her job as a school chef, adds: “So, to have her home with us, and to be able to enjoy Christmas with her, and Isabella, feels incredibly precious.”

Rebekah’s pregnancy with Roxanne almost ended four weeks in, when an ovarian cyst ruptured last October.

“I was rushed to hospital in a lot of pain and was given both wonderful and terrible news. I was told I was in the early weeks of a pregnancy, but I needed an emergency operation to deal with the ruptured cyst, and there was a high risk I would miscarry.”

Coke bottle baby Roxanne with sister Isabella
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On April 2, at just 28 weeks pregnant, Rebekah was admitted to hospital after feeling unwell and experiencing reduced movements
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On April 2, at just 28 weeks pregnant, Rebekah was admitted to hospital after feeling unwell and experiencing reduced movements.

Because of Covid restrictions, Adam, 29, who works as a sales manager, was not allowed to go with her, so he waited in the car park of Stoke Mandeville Hospital, near their home in Buckingham, Bucks.

Rebekah says: “I was placed on a monitor to check on the baby. Three hours later, the baby’s heartbeat dropped and the room was filled with medical staff, it was incredibly scary.

Rebekah said the birth was very scary as it was so quick
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“I was rushed into theatre and within minutes, Roxanne was delivered by emergency section. She made a tiny whimper when she was born, but lost consciousness and medics spent the longest 11 minutes of my life working on her.

“I had the briefest glimpse of her, in an incubator in a plastic bag to keep her warm, with a tiny oxygen mask on her face, before she was whisked off to NICU.”

Roxanne spent 96 days in the NICU, during which time she suffered collapsed lungs and was placed on a ventilator, jaundice and oedema – swelling caused by excess fluid in the body’s tissues.

Roxanne spent 96 days in the NICU, during which time she suffered collapsed lungs and was placed on a ventilator, jaundice and oedema
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But she was allowed home and has had her first Christmas with her parents and sister
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“I visited her every day, but leaving hospital without my baby was
heartbreaking,” admits Rebekah.

“We had support from an amazing charity called Emily’s Star, which gifted me a neonatal box.

“We took the photo of her with the Coke bottle when she was a fortnight old, to show friends and family just how small she was. I really can’t believe how fragile she was.”

In July, came the day Rebekah and Adam had been waiting for, and they were able to bring Roxanne home.

The family pictured on their first Christmas together
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Now, Roxanne is a bouncing eight-month-old with, Rebekah says, “a cheeky, happy personality”.

She is still dependent on oxygen as her lungs are underdeveloped but it is hoped she will come off it as she grows bigger.

Rebekah says: “Christmas is special but this year is extra precious having our little miracle here with us.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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