Miracle baby mum feared she’d never have
EVERY time Elaine Richards cradles her baby girl Chloe, she is thankful for the opportunity to be a mum.
Ms Richards, who has lived her life with a serious heart condition, feared she would never get the opportunity to start a family.
"I was born with two holes in my heart and a missing valve," the 22-year-old from Ipswich said.
"When I was five days old I was rushed to the Prince Charles Hospital where I stayed for 12 months.
"I have also had four heart surgeries to repair the holes and to repair the valves.
"I will also have to have another surgery when I stop growing, because I am still getting taller."
Her heart condition meant Ms Richards was unable to run around like most kids, meaning she was unable to participate in a lot of school activities.
"I wasn't allowed to do things like cross country," the new mum said.
"I did play a little bit of soccer, but I couldn't play a full game."
As she grew older, Ms Richards was worried her condition would stop her from starting a family.
Thankfully, her and partner Cody Gesler welcomed Chloe in February, although much earlier than they expected.
"Chloe was born February 22 at 26.5 weeks when I had to have an emergency caesarean," Ms Richards said.
Little Chloe was born at the Ipswich Hospital at 7.49pm weighing 1kg. Due to her early arrival into the world, she was required to stay in hospital for three-and-a-half months.
Ms Richards was concerned her daughter may have the same condition, but received good news from the doctors.
"She has a very small hole in her heart but it's nothing major," she said.
Ms Richards has some words of encouragement for other people with heart conditions who also have the same fears.
"Have a talk to your doctor, and if it doesn't work out, you can always adopt or foster kids," she said.
"But try though, because it could happen."
For now, the new family are settling into a new routine at home, and thankfully Chloe is sleeping through the night.