Little Layla Henderson was then struck down with pneumonia and a rare heart infection which left her at severe risk of a stroke
Doctors saved battling baby Layla Henderson with cling film after she was born with organs outside her body.
The tot was then struck down with pneumonia and a rare heart infection which left her at severe risk of a stroke.
But despite all her troubles, Layla has fought it all off and now learned to smile.
And since her first cheeky grin at one month old, her beaming face has helped her parents Zoe Sweeney and James Henderson get through their ordeal.
Now the couple are overjoyed at finally having Layla home in Nairn, Inverness-shire, after five months in and out of hospitals across the country.
Zoe, 23, said: “It’s magical being at home with her.
“Looking back, I can’t believe we got through it all. She’s been through a hell of a lot and it felt like it was never going to end.
“Every day was a constant worry about what was going to happen next but just seeing her smile helped us get through.
“The first time she was just over a month old. It was a heart-warming moment and the cutest smile I’ve ever seen.
“She was coping, so we felt we should do her proud and be able to cope with it, too.”
Layla was treated in four different hospitals and spent her first six days with her intestines suspended in a bag above her after a rare form of hernia meant her bowel grew outside her body.
She has endured countless surgeries, tests and scans.
And twice she had to be rushed 200 miles to Glasgow to prevent her suffering a stroke.
Layla still has a dangerous blood clot in her heart and her parents have to inject her with blood thinning drugs twice a day.
But as she cradles her miracle daughter, Zoe is relieved that the worst is now over after tests revealed the clot had reduced in size.
When Zoe was 12 weeks pregnant, a routine scan showed Layla was suffering from gastroschisis, which meant there was a hole in her abdominal wall and her bowel was growing outside her body.
Zoe went to the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow to be induced at 37 weeks and Layla arrived, weighing 5lb 10oz, on April 15.
She was transferred to the city’s Yorkhill Hospital and spent the next six days with her bowel suspended above her to gradually guide it back into her body.
Surgeons manipulated it into position in a two-hour operation when she was seven days old.
Zoe said: “We were prepared for the worst because they said she would be on a ventilator but she came back breathing on her own.
“She’s been a wee star from day one.”
Layla made record progress and was home after just a month. Two months later, her parents took her on a family holiday in England – but within minutes of their arrival, Layla fell ill and they took her to A&E screaming in agony.
Tests confirmed she was battling pneumonia and Zoe and James took her back to Raigmore Hospital, Inverness, to be closer to home.
There, further tests showed she also had endocarditis, a rare and deadly heart infection.
Layla was whisked back to Glasgow where she spent three weeks enduring countless scans and blood tests before being transferred back to Raigmore.
But two weeks later, the family were dealt another blow when doctors said Layla had developed a rare complication and a blood clot had formed over the infection area.
Layla was immediately airlifted back to Glasgow.
Zoe said: “I don’t think I’ve cried as much in all my life.
“It did cross my mind that we could lose her.”
Nurse Zoe and mechanic James, 26, spent the next fortnight at their daughter’s side as she received medication through a drip.
Layla was finally allowed home on September 14 and is now lapping up all the attention.
Zoe said: “It’s great being able to have a cuddle in the morning without having to walk through the hospital to see her. Hopefully this time we won’t be going back.
“She’s definitely a fighter. She is a very content, happy baby considering everything that she has gone through and it is very easy to make her smile.”
The family are now holding fundraising events in aid of the Ronald McDonald House charity, who let them be close to their daughter during her nine weeks in Glasgow.
Zoe said: “It took away a lot of heartache and stress and we made lifelong friends there.”
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