Kelley and her husband Tom French had been trying for a child for four years before she fell pregnant with a donor egg. Two days after the 20-week ultrasound which confirmed their baby was healthy, Kelley started bleeding. She was crushed.
“I thought I’d lost the baby. I felt like a colossal failure,” French told The Independent.
She hadn't lost the baby. But doctors told her she needed to keep it alive for four weeks before it could be delivered. At 23 weeks and six days into the pregnancy, Juniper was born.
The experience that followed, where the two parents were glued to her incubator in the neonatal intensive care unit for six and a half months, has been retold by French in her book Juniper: The Girl Who Was Born Too Soon.
“The people we were on that day, we were not the same people six months later,” said French.
When Juniper came into the world, she weighed just 1lb 4oz and was what doctors describe as on “the edge of viability”. She couldn’t see, because her eyes were fused shut. Her skin was transparent.
Before that, doctors had warned the couple that there was an eighty percent chance that she would die, or be born with a moderate to severe disability. They just couldn’t predict exactly where or with what.
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