The amazing progress of Evie, the Ipswich girl born 12 weeks early
- Credit: Archant
The proud parents of an Ipswich girl born 12 weeks prematurely have spoken of her progress as they celebrate a special Christmas.
Evie Compton did not have the easiest start to life.
She was incredibly born 12 weeks premature, while her parents were on holiday in the Dominican Republic and so spent her first four months in a foreign country.
She weighed only 2lb and 10oz at birth, and had to be incubated for months before she was allowed to leave hospital which meant she and her and her parents celebrated their first Christmas together in the Caribbean.
The three year old is in good health although she does suffer some health complications linked to her early birth.
She is deaf, but loves communicating to her parents, using sign language that she is learning both at home and at nursery.
After a rocky start, Evie, now aged three, is embracing her childhood and is celebrating her second Christmas on home soil.
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She was born on September 28, 2015, three months early while her parents, Dan, a 38 year old tree surgeon and Shannon, a 39 year old interior designer, were on holiday in the Caribbean, attending a friends wedding.
Now three years on from her Christmas ordeal, Evie is getting on well, and her parents are using this festive period to celebrate the three year anniversary since their Christmas away from home.
“I try to take as much of Christmas, or any occasion in as possible,” said Mr Compton.
“It’s nice to have Evie here with us enjoying Christmas, even though our house is a construction site at the moment so we can’t have any decorations up really.
“Because our first Christmas was spent abroad, it is really nice to be home now.”
The couple were attending a friend’s wedding when Mrs Compton was forced into labour after an infection triggered early contractions. After a short stay in an expensive private hospital, the couple and their baby moved to a public facility, however the stress of keeping Evie safe and the prospect of expensive hospital bill not being covered by their insurance company their first Christmas was not exactly perfect.
After taking Evie home from the hospital, the family stayed in a hotel room for another month while Evie put on more weight.
Doctors from the Dominican Republic deemed that she was too small to fly and so, despite hoping to be home for Christmas the family had to stay.
“It’s a memory we will never forget,” said Mrs Compton.
“Christmas Day was not a particularly great memory as we tucked in to our spaghetti, missing our families, but we had a tiny bundle of joy in our hands which made it a day to be grateful.
“I often end in tears if I think of it too much, but I have to be proud of us for how we handled things together. Every day I’m grateful not just at Christmas, I love our little family”
Mr Compton continued: “We did want to come home for Christmas but Evie was too small so we celebrated it in our hotel room.
“It was fun and we were happy but I think at the back of our minds we know that Evie was going to have some health problems as she got older and that worried us.”
A fundraising campaign was set up to help the couple, who have since married, pay for their stay. It raised over £75,000 and after their insurance company paid out, they gave it all to charity.
The pair now live in Ipswich and have been working with a local charity, Ipswich Deaf Children’s Society (IDCS), to prepare themselves for life with Evie.
Mr Compton said: “With Evie here now it is different. We have both had to learn a new skill by learning sign language to talk to her.
“Evie is improving a lot and she sometimes comes back from nursery with a new sign that we don’t know so we have to go and find out what it is.
“We are really thankful for Ipswich Deaf Children’s Society (IDCS) because we did a course to learn sign language that was completely free and my wife went back again this year.
“Whenever I go on holiday I like to learn a bit of the language and the culture so I’ve quite enjoyed it.”
The family have also had help from St Helens House Audiology, the Sensory and Communication team and Evie’s nursery, Buttons and Bows who they would all like to thank.
Now, three years on, Dan and Sharon Compton can reflect on their experience in the Dominican Republic properly.
Mr Compton said: “I can have a bad day of work, I can be upset, but one look at Evie and Sharon and it makes everything alright.”