A heartbroken young couple have buried their second premature baby in two years.
After the devastated pair were told they would finally be able to bring her home for the first time after eight months in hospital, Marley-Rae Rowe died when her health suddenly deteriorated.
She was born last year at just 28 weeks old at the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital and weighed a tiny 1lb 130zs, reports Devon Live.
Parents Jordan Rowe, 21, and Melissa Bagshaw, 23, of Digby, Exeter, were told to expect the worst but by some miracle she pulled through and despite being diagnosed with life-long complications, continued to make progress.
The week before her death she had grown to 13lbs 60zs. However, her health suddenly deteriorated and plans to finally bring her home from hospital were abandoned.
She passed away on May 6, and a special service to bid farewell to Marley-Rae was held on Tuesday.
By some bitter twist of fate, this Friday marks the second anniversary of the death of their first baby Lucas, and today (Thursday May 17) would have been his second birthday.
Lucas was born at 27 weeks old after Melissa’s waters broke early. He weighed just 2lb 6.5oz and only lived for six hours.
Jordan said: “We’ve asked ourselves, what have we done to deserve this? It’s frustrating.
"Marley-Rae definitely fought everything that came in her path. She didn’t give up at any point and was strong through everything.
"She was a really amazing baby.”
When Melissa fell pregnant with Marley-Rae – her third child – she never got to the 20-week scan stage because three days before her waters broke.
She was later sent home to wait until she went into labour. It didn’t happen for another six weeks and then on September 18 2017 Marley-Rae was born.
Due to her complex needs their baby was transferred to Plymouth and was cared for in the neonatal unit at Derriford.
She spent her first few months between the two hospitals and her last stay was on the RD&E’s Bramble Ward for children.
Jordan recalled: “When she was born she was probably three-quarters the size of a Sky remote control. She was really, really small.
“We were warned that when she came out she would be taken away as she would not be breathing. It was exactly the same as what happened to our other baby Lucas.
“It took eight attempts to resuscitate her. That big period without oxygen caused brain damage and she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
“It was a long old road but she was ready to come home. I had been prepared to give up work to help Melissa look after her as it would have been too much on her own.
"All our daughter needed was an operation to fit a feeding tube in her stomach as she was not able to swallow.
“Then she became really quiet and not her usual self so they did lots of blood tests and they found out she had pneumonia on her right lung. We hoped it would just be a little illness and she would then be ready for her operation.
“But she wasn’t well enough and was on 100% oxygen. Then we were told the time had come to turn the machine off.
"It was scary as we all thought she would pass away quite quickly. However, they took her off it on the Friday and she lasted until Sunday.
“It was almost like she was scared to shut her eyes because when she did she would open them. It was as if she knew she wouldn’t wake up.
"It was absolute torture. I had to put my mouth over hers to give her extra breaths as she struggling.
“She passed away on my mum’s birthday. It’s like she stayed just to wait for it.”
He added: “She was a special baby and now she is heaven with her brother.”
Following her death, the local community has helped raise £2,000 to pay for a headstone for Marley-Rae. Any money left over will be donated to Children’s Hospice South West.
Giving their heartfelt thanks to all those who cared for their daughter, Jordan said: “We would like to thank all the team who looked after her the two hospitals. They made us feel welcome and at home, and did everything in their power to make sure Marley-Rae was okay.
"They even made our time in hospital enjoyable.”
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