WHEN Nicola Collis found out she was pregnant 18 years after her first child was born, little did she know what a rollercoaster ride she was in for.

Because on September 14, 2021, Ms Collis, of St Julian's, Newport, gave birth to her second daughter, Emily - who weighed a miniscule 2lb 8oz.

Ms Collis, 39, who is married to Stephen and is mum to 18-year-old Caitlin, said: "Finding out I was expecting 18 years after my first was a shock, but once we got over that, we were over the Moon and were looking forward to our new addition.

"The first 20 weeks went by well but then I started having severe headaches and swelling of my feet. At my 28 week growth scan it was noticed that my baby was very small (severe Intrauterine Growth Restriction) due to early preclampsia.

"We were advised daily monitoring would start but to expect a need for delivery at any point. The longer baby stayed put, the better the outcome would be.

South Wales Argus: Emily at 1 week old

Emily at one week old

"For the next three weeks I visited the Royal Gwent and the Grange hospitals daily for monitoring. We made it to 31 weeks five days before the sonogropher Sophie Wong at the Royal Gwent noticed things had changed and the baby needed to be delivered that day."

Ms Collis , who works as a ward clerk in the maternity unit at the Grange University Hospital, was told to make her way to the Grange for an emergency Caesarian section.

She said: "Emily has been in the Special Care Baby Unit ever since and will remain there until approximately her due date - November 11.

"She is doing very well and gaining weight but has a lot of growing and learning to do before it's time for her to come home with us.

"It's been very difficult for myself, my husband and our family since we found out the worrying news at 28 weeks and has been a rollercoaster ever since.

South Wales Argus: Emily at 2 weeks old

Emily at two weeks old

"When Emily was a week old we had to be separated for 10 days due to being in contact with a Covid positive.

"This was heart breaking but thankfully the nurses emailed pictures to us and her Nanny was allowed to go in and visit so she still had her cuddles and we still got to see her and talk to her through FaceTime.

"This helped us a lot to get through those tough 10 days and it highlights that Covid is still out there and can affect new parents as well.

"We couldn't thank the midwives, sonographers, HCSAs, consultants and surgeons for bringing Emily into the world safely and looking after me and for the staff on SCBU who are doing such amazing work with Emily and all the other babies on the unit."

Ms Collis' husband Stephen, 46, is a manager at Wrens Bakery, on Caerleon Road, Newport, and Emily is his first child.

Ms Collis said: "He is besotted with her."