When a woman gives birth prematurely, the last thing she is likely to think about is using freezer bags as a lifesaver.
But that's exactly What Emma Blakely did for her children, who were both born prematurely, two years apart.
The babies were placed in the 20p freezer bags from Tesco to replicate the comfort of her mother's womb for both daughter Willow (now 2-and-a-half years old) and son Zach, now seven months.
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“Tesco saved both my babies,” Emma Blakey said. “I have a lot to thank them for.”
Willow, who weighed just over 3lbs when she was born, had to spend six-and-a-half weeks in hospital, while her younger brother Zach who weighed 2lb 15oz, had to stay in for 11 weeks after suffering from two grade three brain bleeds and chronic lung disease.
Emma explained how Willow was born at 29 weeks November 2012, after a six-hour labour.
“It was really stressful,” she revealed. “I couldn’t believe it. But I didn’t think it would happen again.”
Afterwards, Emma and her partner Graham Watmough, 33, were told there was only a one in ten chance her second pregnancy would be premature.
So when she fell pregnant two years later she was devastated when her waters broke at 27 weeks. After a 48-hour labour Zach was born weighing 2lb 15oz.
But, like his sister before him Tesco came to the rescue.
Emma, of Newark, Nottinghamshire, said: “It’s one of those things that you never think will happen to you. Both Willow and Zach were so tiny, at first I couldn’t see how they would possibly survive. They looked so fragile in their little freezer bags.
“When Willow was born, I just couldn’t believe it when I saw her all wrapped up like that. A nurse told me that the freezer bag kept her warm and made her feel like she was back in the womb.”
She added: “I had a rough ride with Willow, I was sick all the time. Then, when my waters broke at 28-weeks I was distraught.
“My partner Graham was so good, trying to calm me down, but all I could think was that my baby was in danger.
“In hospital I was put on antibiotics to prevent infection. I was in labour for six hours, then Willow was rushed to intensive care straightaway. Later that day I went up to see her, she was attached to a machine to help her breathe, but she was absolutely perfect.”
In hospital Willow thrived, and in January 2013, after 45 days in NICU, she was allowed home.
When she fell pregnant again, her waters broke when she was only 27-weeks gone, even though scans had shown her he was fine.
“When my waters broke I couldn’t believe it. When little Zach was born he was even earlier and even smaller than Willow. He had two grade three bleeds on the brain. We were told that he was at risk of having learning difficulties.
“But he was a little fighter, and was allowed home the day before his due date. We were told that we’d have to wait and see if he developed normally.”
“Since then he’s had to go back into hospital as he contracted pneumonia.”
Now Zach is seven-months old, and Emma and Graham are still unsure whether he has been left with any disabilities.
“So far he’s been progressing just as his big sister did. Willow dotes on Zach, they play so happily together. I’m so proud of my freezer bag babies."
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