Piper-Kohl Kelly, who is named after Professor Thomas Kohl, the surgeon who operated on her, was born prematurely at 30 weeks and four days to parents Georgia Axford, 19, and Tyler Kelly, 21.
A 20 week scan showed Georgia and Tyler’s unborn baby had spina bifida, a gap in her spine.
This condition can leave sufferers with paralysis in their lower limbs, and often dependent on crutches or a wheelchair for life.
The couple opted to travel to Germany for a £9,000 surgery performed in the womb, which took place on 13 June this year. The operation involved attaching a 3.5cm collagen patch used to treat burns victims over Piper’s spine.
Six weeks later, on 28 July, Piper-Kohl was born nine weeks premature weighing 3lb 10oz.
Doctors looking after Piper-Kohl can so far seen no signs of a birth defect, and have deemed her totally healthy.
Mother Georgia, from Yate in South Gloucester, says: “She was covered in wires when she was first born but it was just the best feeling to see her. She was just so tiny.
“You could really see the mark on her spine when she was first born. It really makes you think how incredible the procedure was.
“I would honestly recommend the surgery to anyone who is a similar boat to us.
“It was a bit scary at the time and was a lot of money but it was absolutely worth it. I’m just so happy she’s here.”
Recounting the birth, Georgia adds it will be a couple of months before they are sure the surgery has worked.
She says: “I woke up about 11pm and just thought it was back ache so went back to bed. But by 12:30am I was having full blown contractions. Tyler drove me to the hospital and he was great because he just remained really calm.
“It was weird because we had a scan that day and she was right up in my rib cage.
“Looking back on it she was probably getting herself ready to come out!
“I didn’t get to hold her until 5pm that evening as the nurses said I needed to get some rest.
“We won’t know if the operation completely worked until she starts walking, but all looks good at the moment.
“In a couple of months she’ll be able to sit up by herself so that might help show if it worked.”
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