Little warrior IVF baby who beat all the odds

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Her name means warrior. And little Matilda Legh has been a fighter ever since she was born, 15 weeks premature, in 2010.

Proud mum, BBC 3CR Sunday Breakfast show presenter Helen Legh, said: “We were told she probably wouldn’t survive and that even if she did she could be brain damaged.

“She looked like a little bird that had fallen out of its nest.

“She couldn’t open her eyes because her eyelids hadn’t formed and you could see right through her ribcage to her tiny heart beating.”

Helen, who grew up in Leighton Buzzard but now lives in Bletchley, said she sometimes feels guilty that she didn’t bond with her baby immediately.

“I think I was in extreme shock,” she said. “I numbed myself just in case she didn’t make it.

“She was attached to so many tubes and monitors I couldn’t even hold her – she was two weeks old before we had our first cuddle.”

But true to her name, Matilda battled through and is now a “right little chatterbox who always wants to play”.

Helen, 38, and husband Paul, 39, couldn’t be happier with their adored only child.

“I don’t like the term ‘miracle baby’ but her little body must be really incredible to have fought against so many odds,” Helen said.

She and Paul, a former journalist who now runs his own marketing business, turned to IVF when Helen couldn’t conceive naturally.

They had two failed attempts, then decided on one last try with money left in a legacy.

And it succeeded.

Helen recalled: “I can remember the day so clearly. It was really, really snowy. I had to do the test at home and Paul was caught in traffic.

“I was sure the treatment hadn’t worked and when the result was positive, Paul was much more excited than I was. I did a few more and they were still positive. But I didn’t really believe it until I had a blood test at the hospital the next day.”

Looking back on the turbulent time when they started IVF, Helen said the social network site Twitter had been a surprising source of support.

“I didn’t know anyone who’d had the procedure,” she explained. “I didn’t even know the medical terms.

“But I researched it on Twitter and up came names like IVF Mummy and IVF Princess, a whole community. I still speak to some of them although I’ve never met them.

“It was really helpful to talk to people in the same situation but far enough removed from you so that you could be really honest.

“It was the same when Matilda came home and I was up at 3am with her projectile vomiting. There was always someone to turn to, it’s a massive support network.”

She added: “I just feel so incredibly lucky. We appreciate every moment with our precious daughter.”