A COUPLE have honoured the midwife who helped to save their baby's life.

Abbigail and Peter Smith-Robinson, both 30 and from Hapton, say their daughter Jessica would not be here today without the actions of midwife Maria Williamson who found them an earlier follow-up scan appointment when Jessica’s growth was showing as small.

And they were so grateful they included Maria's name in their daughter's name - Jessica Maria Smith-Robinson - in her honour.


Jessica, now one, spent the first months of her life battling for survival in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) after she was born as an emergency when a problem with the placenta’s blood flow was detected.

Jessica was born at 26 weeks, weighing just 650g and spent the next four-and-a-half months in NICU where she was ventilated and nursed to full health by the dedicated team of doctors and nurses.

Jessica is now off oxygen and doing really well and her proud parents are celebrating a full year of having her at home.

But it could have been a very different story had it not been for Maria's swift action.

They became concerned when Abbigail had a little bleed and a growth scan showed their baby was quite small. They were told Abbigail’s next scan would be at 28 weeks.

Peter, who is a business development manager for a print company, said: “Abbigail got quite upset about it all and one of the midwives, called Maria, noticed she was distressed and asked if it would make things better if she tried to get her in a bit earlier and booked her in for the scan at 26 weeks, which subsequently showed a problem with the placenta.

The decision was made to deliver the baby by emergency Caesarean Section at Lancashire Women and Newborn Centre.

Peter said: “Jessica was tiny. Her ears were still stuck to her head and so many parts of her were not properly formed. It was frightening to see.

“She went straight to NICU and was put in an incubator and had all sorts of tubes.

“From that point on, she had regular blood tests and injections and was constantly pricked and prodded.”

Abbigail, a sales manager in the print industry, remembers: “It was very difficult as Jessica was born by Caesarean Section and taken away.

“I was staying on the ward with other women who had their baby, but I did not have mine.

“After a few days, I was allowed to go home but I stayed in hospital all the time Jessica was in there.”

Jessica was on a ventilator for six weeks in intensive care and then moved to the high dependency unit and gradually to different levels of oxygen support.

Jessica had ups and downs throughout her journey such as becoming ill with sepsis but in October 2016, she was finally allowed to go home with her parents.

Peter said: “Jessica was on oxygen for six months after she came home until February this year.

“In March, she became ill with bronchiolitis and ended up back in hospital. But luckily she recovered well from that.

“Jessica still has chronic lung disease but she is doing brilliantly and up to this point, there are no concerns with her development.

“We wanted to give Jessica the middle name of Maria as we believe her actions are the primary reason she is here.”

Maria Williamson, midwife at the antenatal unit at Lancashire Women and Newborn Centre, said she is extremely moved by the gesture.

She said: “I have been a midwife for 23 years and have had lovely cards and presents but I have never had anyone name their baby after me before.

“It made me feel very emotional and it is one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me.

“I am glad I was able to help them and that Jessica is doing so well.

“As a midwife, you are always looking and watching. They call it ‘midwife’s intuition.’

“Sometimes, you just get a feeling and I felt that bringing that scan forward was the right thing to do.”