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One year on, baby comes home at long last

Clare Francis welcomes home Sienna A baby born after just 22 weeks has finally arrived home after spending more than a year in hospital.
When Sienna Elizabeth Alice Francis came into the world she weighed just 500g (1lb 2oz) – half a bag of sugar – and her parents were told to expect the worst. But after five operations and successfully seeing off the superbug MRSA, 14-month-old Sienna now tips the scales at 7kg (15lb 8oz).

'It has been a real rollercoaster for us,' said Sienna's mother Clare, 38. 'For every step forward it felt like two steps back.   'When we first saw her it was so hard to imagine she could make it. She hadn't opened her eyes and her ears hadn't formed properly, she just had little flaps.'

Sienna was delivered at the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath after Mrs Francis of Horsted Keynes, West Sussex, went into labour four months early.  She was born with group B streptococcus – the most common cause of life-threatening infections in newborn babies in Britain. Sienna spent six months at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton.

When she reached the size of a normal newborn baby – at five months old – she was transferred to the nearby Royal Alexandra Children's Hospital.  She also spent time at Great Ormond Street and King's College Hospital in London.

The first operation she had was to repair her bowel.   Mr Francis, 42, a company director said: 'We were told she might not make it through the operation and we had to prepare ourselves for losing Sienna.   'It was like taking her to the end of a cliff and leaving her to dangle not knowing what was going to happen. We want to give mothers who have had premature babies hope. We want people to see there is a happy end to our story.'

Sienna's experience could fuel the political debate on whether the upper limit for abortions should be cut from 24 weeks from 22.

By courtesy of  Christian Concern for our Nation (CCFON)