SHE weighed little more than a pound when she was born 36 years ago – one of Scotland’s smallest babies.
Leigh Anne Mateljan was given only a 25 per cent chance of survival after her mum gave birth to her and twin sister Kirsty Jane on February 18, 1976, at the Western General – two-and-a-half months before their due date.
Both Leigh Anne and her sister – born the larger of the pair at 2lb 4oz – battled for survival in incubators for weeks before parents Stan and Wilma were able to take them home.
And although the twins survived, their parents were told they would develop severe learning difficulties and would never lead a normal life.
But yesterday Leigh Anne, who made a rare trip to the Capital from her new home in Auckland, New Zealand, celebrated the christening of her own son, Samuel, with friends and family at St Ninian’s in Stockbridge.
The irony of giving birth to a baby boy in October who weighed 10lb – nearly ten times what she did – is not lost on the 36-year-old hairdresser, who married courier operations manager Steven, 40, four years ago.
She said: “We certainly did not expect Samuel to be that big. We had lots of scans and the nurses were like, no, no, and then when he came out it was like: ‘Oh my God. Did I just push that out?’
“We were coming back on holiday and my mum wanted him home to be christened when we were over here, just with the whole family back together, and because my sister and her husband, and my brother, Craig, and his wife, were going to be here as well.”
But Leigh Anne, who has an older son, George, three, said giving birth to her own children after battling for survival as a baby was not without worry.
She said: “During both pregnancies I could not help but think ‘is something going to go wrong’? It could happen to you and you always have that fear.”
Proud father and grandfather Stan, now 67, said he was overjoyed that Samuel’s christening would be celebrated in Scotland.
He said: “When the girls were born, one weighed just more than a bag of sugar, one less than a bag of sugar. They were like skinned rats. They were that small we had to go to toy shops to buy them clothes.
“It’s the first time I’ve had the twins together in years. I am over the moon. It’s terrific to have them back.”
Wilma, 67, a hospital administrator at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, said: “We always laugh. We say the smallest child had the biggest one.”