NRL News

Premature baby born while mum was fighting for her life grew up to defy all odds

by | Oct 4, 2021

By Right to Life UK

A premature baby who was born not breathing and with a brain starved of oxygen is now 16 and has just passed her GCSEs.

Ashleigh Mulvaney was born in Liverpool Women’s Hospital in March 2005 under extremely difficult circumstances. After her delivery, her mother, Alison, was rushed to theatre for a ten-hour operation to fix an aneurysm in her splenetic vein. At the same time as mother and daughter were in critical condition, her father was also in hospital for smoke inhalation and also her older brother after a severe asthma attack.

Alison, now 51, tells the whole story. She said:

“It all happened after we were coming home from Alder Hey Hospital one night. Ashleigh’s brother Joshua had severe asthma and he’d had a really bad asthma attack”.

On their way home they encountered vans and a house on fire and Ashleigh’s Dad, Danny, heroically entered one of the houses to help a woman get out of the house before rushing upstairs to help her children too.

During all the commotion, Alison “felt an almighty pain. I thought I had done something, I was doubled up in pain over Danny’s van”.

“When he came up he automatically thought it was the baby…”

Doctors insisted that the baby had to come out “immediately”.

Amazingly, a paramedic coming home after having his tea, quickly discovered that it wasn’t the baby at all but that it was Alison herself.

“I had a burst of aneurysm”, she said, “and was dying in front of everyone’s eyes”.

“I was rushed to the women’s hospital and Danny was sent to the Royal with smoke inhalation”.

As soon as Alison arrived at the hospital, the doctors insisted that the baby had to come out “immediately”. Alison had passed out by this point and when her daughter Ashleigh was delivered she wasn’t breathing, was having fits and was starved of oxygen.

Alison said: “I then had a ten-hour operation, was bleeding to death and it turned out I had an aneurysm in my splenetic vein and had to have my spleen removed”.

“The family were brought in and told I probably wouldn’t make it, but I woke up three days later in intensive care in a hospital in Preston”.

“At one point I was in Preston hospital, Danny was in the Royal, Ashleigh was in the Women’s and Joshua was in Alder Hey all at the same time”.

“We weren’t given any guarantees whether she would be able to walk or talk”.

After Ashleigh’s traumatic birth, doctors weren’t sure what damage had been done and what the future would hold for her.

“We weren’t given any guarantees whether she would be able to walk or talk”.

Ashleigh was late to learn to start walking and needed speech therapy to help to talk.

Her mum said: “She didn’t walk until she was three and she didn’t talk until nearly four years of age – she has fought hard from birth”.

With extra support at primary school and smaller classes to help with her special educational needs at secondary school, she was transferred into mainstream education and has now passed her GCSEs.

Alison said: “She gives 100% in everything she does, working hard all the way through lockdown, she puts her all into everything she does and is our little miracle. We’re in awe of what she’s achieved”.

She’s now ready to start college and hopes to follow in her brother’s footsteps as a teaching assistant.

A spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson, said: “It is such amazing news to hear of Ashleigh’s great achievement, and we wish her a huge congratulations for passing her GCSEs and all the best for the future. Her story is a truly inspiring demonstration of what we can achieve as people and the obstacles we can overcome”.

“The efforts taken by medical professionals to help preserve her life when she was born, and by teachers, schools and her family to support her whilst she strived for success show the tremendous support we can offer as a society to people born in difficult, life-threatening circumstances”.


Categories: Premature babies