A MOTHER whose child was born prematurely at just 24 weeks and contracted meningitis twice has shared her story to raise awareness of the support available for families in the same situation.

Sarah Jones, 29, gave birth to her son Axl 15 months ago, after being rushed to hospital and undergoing an emergency caesarean.

Baby Axl weighed just 650 grams when he was born and was classed as an ‘extreme micro preemie.’

He spent 114 days in hospital before Miss Jones was able to bring him home for the first time.

A year on, Miss Jones spoke to the Argus about her experience.

She said the traumatic experience would have been even worse had she not had the support of the charity Bliss, which offers advice and help for mothers of sick and premature babies.


When Miss Jones became pregnant with Axl, her due date was August 29, 2018. But, a whole four months before that, she began bleeding and went to hospital.

Although doctors initially told her it was nothing to worry about, the bleeding continued to get worse, and she was taken to A&E at Swansea's Singleton Hospital - where she was told if she didn't have an emergency caesarean both her and her baby's lives were at risk.

Thankfully Axl survived the emergency procedure, but weighed only 650 grams and couldn't breathe on his own.

And the trauma didn't end there.

“He was about two weeks old when he first contracted meningitis," said Miss Smith.

"Thankfully he fought his way through it.

“All the time Axl was in Swansea, I was staying a five-minute walk away from the hospital. Every morning I would walk there wondering if he was still going to be there. Wondering if I would be walking in to an empty incubator.

South Wales Argus:

(Sarah Jones' baby Axl was born prematurely at just 24 weeks. Picture: Sarah Jones.)

“One day, I was in hospital and one of the nurses told me he had a collapsed lung. I Googled it straight away and started to panic. I know you should never Google symptoms, but I just couldn’t help it.

“Bliss helped us through it and reassured us that everything would be okay."

Bliss is a charity dedicated to supporting premature and unwell newborns and their families, aiming to give them the best possible chance of survival.

Miss Jones said: “I didn’t know about Bliss until I was in the situation myself. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have got through this.

“We would be sitting with the doctors who would be telling us all this information, but I would just be worrying.

“It was going in one ear and out the other. Bliss were amazing by giving me all the support and reassuring me every step of the way.

“I just want people to know there is help and support out there and no-one is alone in this situation.”

South Wales Argus:

(Sarah Jones and her partner Brock Howarth with their children Max, Axl and Mia. Picture: Mark Lewis.)

When he was 29 weeks old, Axl was moved to Newport's Royal Gwent Hospital, and three weeks later moved closer to home to the Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil.

And it was on his due date - August 29, 2018 - that he was allowed to go home.

But this wasn't the end - a week later he contracted meningitis for a second time, and was in hospital for another week. But he battled through again, and today is a healthy, happy one-year-old.

Miss Jones, of Abertysswg, is hoping to use her experience to help others who find themselves in the same situation.

“Now he’s 15 months old and he weighs 24 pounds,” said Miss Jones. “He's doing well now.

"We are weaning him off the additional oxygen.

“Ever since we went through this, I have been looking in to starting a nursing degree when the children have grown up a bit. I would love to be able to sit down with someone and say: ‘I know exactly how you feel as I have been in that situation.’

“We have also been fundraising for Bliss. We raised more than £400 with a sponsored walk in June.”

For more information on the services Bliss can provide, visit bliss.org.uk