I attended the day unit at the Princess Anne Hospital, Southampton at 36+ 6 weeks as I noticed I hadn't felt my baby move very much. Being my second baby I felt almost as if I should know what to feel and expect throughout my pregnancy but my instincts told me to call the day unit and ask to be checked. When I arrived I was hooked up to the monitor and I saw the baby's heart rate was normal so I felt relieved but within 20 minutes the midwife had paged the registrar and they were planning for an emergency caesarean. I was told that the baby wasn't moving much to conserve energy which wasn't a good sign.

Within 3 hours of arriving at the hospital my daughter, Ella was delivered, she scored zero on the Apgar scale at birth, she required two crash teams in theatre and chest compression's before they could intubate her and rush her down to the neonatal unit down the corridor.

When I first saw Ella at 6 hours old she had been ventilated, sedated, paralysed and was being cooled with a suit to try and prevent any brain damage from the birth.

Ella had 12 days in Intensive care followed by 13 days in special care before we could bring her home. She had Severe Neonatal Encephalopathy (HIE) grade 3, Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN), suffered seizures in her first 36 hours and had Severe Meconium Asperation Sydrome, she was in need of a ECMO procedure but was too poorly and had neurological concerns so was unable to receive this. However she turned a corner and we brought her home without an oxygen or a feeding tube at 27 days old.

During her hospital stay Ella had an MRI scan which showed she had severe brain damage putting her at high risk of developing cerebral palsy, and her hearing test showed she has moderate hearing loss in one ear.

Ella has received various hospital and community input including physiotherapy to help with her then fisted hands and hypertonia. Her first 6 months was weekly appointments but this has resulted in us now having a healthy 15 month old daughter, with no current health issues and who now has normal tone and normal neurology and it appears that her brain may have found different pathways around the damaged areas. She is surprising all her consultants as she meeting all her developmental milestones, she was even walking at 13 months old, a sight we prepared ourselves that we may never see.

Our first year with Ella wasn't as we had envisaged and we have had a rollercoaster of emotions. I stress to pregnant people I know that Kicks Count, be aware of your baby's movements and to get checked if you have any doubts, don't wait. I'm so glad I went to hospital that day if I had left it any longer before seeking help I would not have Ella today.