'My baby Alice was so tiny my ring fitted on her arm'.
Byline: HELEDD PRITCHARD Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
had EVERY parent's dream is to be able to hold their newborn when they first come into the world.
her contact But Tiffany Thomas and her partner Matthew Heather, from Aberfan, had to wait 17 days for that special moment.
her "to Their daughter, Alice, was born three months prematurely after Tiffany started having back pain and losing blood.
She went into labour and hours later Alice was born.
Weighing just 1lb 14.5oz, Alice was so tiny her mother's engagement ring could fit around her arm up to her shoulder.
"When she was born I didn't get to hold her," 27-year-old Tiffany said.
"They stabilised her on the resuscitation table and I sat up on the bed and I could just see them doing CPR on her.
"After they stabilised her we got to see her, but then she was taken to the Royal Gwent hospital in an ambulance."
Alice had 24-hour care and was attached to a drip and under antibiotics.
But at three weeks old she fell drastically ill and her parents were told she had blood poisoning.
Tiffany added: "We couldn't touch her for 17 days. We could get some contact through the holes in the incubator but we couldn't hug her or hold her properly.
"Little by little we could take her out to hold her for up to 10 minutes a day, but sometimes she couldn't stay out for that long because the temperature would be too cold for her.
"We used to take it in turns, so I would hold her one day and Matthew would hold her the next."
When she was six weeks old Alice was transferred back to the Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr and her daily cuddle time with her parents was increased to a potential half an hour on days when she was strong enough.
"Being told when you can and can't touch your own child is difficult," Tiffany said.
"We have no pictures of her first day but we know the reason for that was for her own benefit because she had to be treated.
"But it was tough not being able to pick up my own baby and give her a cuddle.
"Alice was tiny and a nurse told me to put my engagement ring on her arm to see how tiny she was.
"It fit around her arm all the way up to her shoulder."
Alice left hospital when she was 12 weeks old and weighed 4lb 9oz.
During her time in hospital she had to have a number of blood transfusions and now that she has made a remarkable recovery Tiffany is organising a sponsored walk to raise money for premature babies charity Bliss, which helped them as a family.
"They gave us so much support," Tiffany said.
"One of the machines which was a result of their research was used to give Alice blood transfusion.
"It was through the charity and the support they offered that we managed to get our strength."
The sponsored walk is four laps around Cyfarthfa Park in Merthyr. The distance is aimed at families so that children can also take part.
Participants can dress up as superheroes for the event, which will be held on July 24 from 11am.
Premature baby Alice Heather was so tiny, her mother's engagement ring fit around her arm. Left, with mum Tiffany Thomas and dad Matthew Heather