Baby Aylah-Mae weighed a mere 490 grams when she was born at 23 weeks gestation. Doctors told her mother, 22-year-old Ashley Esagbona, that her daughter wouldn't make it through the day because she was born with a lot of complications. Against all odds, Aylah-Mae fought on.
Esagbona had a very difficult pregnancy with a lot of morning sickness and migraines. When she reached 23-weeks and was visiting a friend out of town, she unexpectedly woke up feeling intense cramping. Realizing she was in labour, Esagbona called emergency services and quickly made her way to the nearest hospital where she was told she was between five and eight centimeters dilated.
Doctors attempted to stop Esagbona's labour but they were too late. Aylah-Mae was born on March 26th and some of the doctors say she was the smallest baby they had ever seen. "She was no bigger than my hand when she was born," her mother recalls.
Born with a hole in her heart and chronic lung disease, Aylah-Mae was unable to survive without hospital equipment. For five months, the baby girl fought daily to live. Right before she reached five-months-old, Aylah-Mae contracted a virus; one that was too strong for her to defeat.
Doctors tried everything they could to treat the dying infant but her immune system was just too weak. It didn't take long before the virus consumed her completely and took her life. "There's nothing more we can do," the doctors told Aylah-Mae's mother. Allowed to spend the night by her side, Esagbona spent the last few moments with her daughter before she died.
Now, Ashley Esagbona wants to celebrate her little fighter's life and wants to send her off in love and happiness, not in grief. Setting up a GoFundMe page to help with funeral costs, Esagbona's sister is hoping to give her niece the final goodbye that she truly deserves. As the family tries to heal from their loss, they hold onto the joy that Aylah-Mae brought during her short time on earth.
As a thank you for everything the staff at the University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire did, Aylah-Mae's family is going to give any extra donations back to the hospital and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in order to help more babies like Aylah-Mae.