Niki’s advice to help pregnant mums after miracle birth

PUBLISHED: 10:07 20 September 2013 | UPDATED: 10:07 20 September 2013

Niki Cunningham with baby Florence and three and a half year old William at home in Budleigh Salterton this week. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref exb 9214-38-13SH To order your copy of this photograph go to www.exmouthjournal.co.uk and click on Photo Orders.

Niki Cunningham with baby Florence and three and a half year old William at home in Budleigh Salterton this week. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref exb 9214-38-13SH To order your copy of this photograph go to www.exmouthjournal.co.uk and click on Photo Orders.

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A Budleigh mother is urging pregnant women to be aware of their baby’s movements, after coming within 24 hours of losing her daughter.

Niki Cunningham and husband Jamie had already experienced tragedy in childbirth, after their son Harry died, aged 26 hours last year, an event which led them to set up the Harry Cunningham Trust.

Earlier this year, Niki became pregnant with their third child, but alarm bells were raised for her five weeks before their daughter, a sister for three-year-old William, was due to be born.

Niki said: “I took myself into the hospital as she had stopped moving 10-days prior. I was told that movements do change at 34 weeks, however this was not a change, they had stopped and I insisted I got checked.”

Having noticed some decelerations in her baby’s heartbeat, Niki insisted that she be delivered early, and Florence was born apparently healthy.

However, it soon became clear all was not well, and there were fears Florence would need a full blood transfusion due to very low haemoglobin levels making her severely anaemic, and bringing on jaundice.

Fortunately, phototherapy lights were enough to bring her through, but it was then that tests revealed the shocking truth about how close they had been to disaster.

Niki said: “After many tests they discovered that Florence had a cross-placenta bleed, where she had bled into me. Thank goodness she was delivered when she was as if they had left it a day or so longer, we wouldn’t have our beautiful girl.

“They tell me her bleed was in the region of 200ml which, when her total blood volume at birth was around 350ml, is a huge loss.”

“After losing Harry the whole pregnancy was a very anxious time, but I had no movements for 10 days and really started to panic.

“People were saying ‘lightning doesn’t strike twice’. I had to put my foot down and say ‘something’s happening here’, and thank God, because it was only after she was born that it came out.”

Inspired by her ‘miracle’, Niki, who says she believes Harry was watching over her and Florence, says the trust, which raises money for neo-natal causes, will be forming an alliance with charity Count the Kicks, which encourages mums to keep an eye on their babies in the womb.

“I’m pleased I had the confidence to be able to do what I did. I just want people to trust their own instincts, but also to read about these things, and not think ‘it won’t happen to me’, because it’s important to know everything when you’re carrying a life.”

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