YOUNG Lauren Skull sailed into her teens yesterday and reached a milestone her parents never thought they would see.
Exactly 13 years ago yesterday the youngster was in the Special Care Baby Unit at the former Princess Margaret Hospital fighting for her life.
She had been born three months premature, weighing just 2lbs 4oz.
Her mum Louise never expected her little baby to grow up so big.
The 33-year-old from Freshbrook said: “When she was born she was that small we couldn’t imagine that one day she would be doing the things she does now, joining the cheerleading club and doing dance at school.
“It’s such a big milestone for us.”
Louise was rushed into hospital when she was just 26 weeks pregnant after a routine check-up with her midwife revealed she had pre-eclampsia, a condition brought on when the body has an allergic reaction to pregnancy.
It was the same condition which had television fans distraught after it killed Downton Abbey’s Lady Sybil in 2012.
Doctors told Louise that if it had not been caught so early then she might have died, or suffered a pre-eclamptic fit which would have put her baby’s life at risk.
Lauren was born at 12.08pm following an emergency caesarean after she had stopped growing after 23 weeks.
She was also born with two blood clots.
Louise said: “I just want to say a big thank you to the nurses at the SCBU because they do such amazing work.
“My youngest, Grace, was also born premature and had to go into the SCBU as well, and the same nurses helped her as helped Lauren.”
Doctors told Louise and her partner Robert that they were surprised Lauren had survived because she had the clots.
Lauren spent six-and-a-half weeks in SCBU, weighing 4lbs 5ozs when she finally came out of hospital.
Louise said: “We just took every day as it came and took nothing for granted.
“It’s wonderful to see that everything is now fine.
“She hasn’t got any problems, she’s absolutely fine.
“She started secondary school last year and made some new friends and is just enjoying life.”
From left, Jayden Hunt, Bailey Skull, Lauren Skull, Rachel Gamble, Jessica Hunt and Grace Skull
To celebrate the big day, Lauren, who now attends Lydiard Park Academy, had a shopping trip at Cribbs Causeway followed by a dinner with her friends at Nando’s.
She also enjoyed a sleepover on Saturday night and on Sunday night celebrated with her family at Hongxin Oriental Buffet in Peatmoor.