When Donna Squires gave birth to daughter Clare two days into 1989, she was told her premature baby – born 17 weeks into her pregnancy – had a one per cent chance of surviving the night.
Twenty-seven years later, Donna and husband Colin joined hundreds of friends and family at Bonnyrigg Parish Church to watch Clare and new husband Colin Hamilton tie the knot.
Born on January 2, 1989 – also in breech position – a full five months before her due date, Clare weighed just over one pound and was given a one-in-100 chance of survival by doctors at the Simpsons maternity unit.
Donna was 23 when she gave birth to Clare. Now 51, she could not hide her delight at seeing her youngest marry last Saturday after such a difficult start in life.
“She was only eight inches long, her fingers were like strands of spaghetti,” she said.
“You hear people talking about ‘sugar bag babies’, Clare weighed less than half of one.
“Her skin was almost transparent, she was so fragile the nurses had to wrap her in cling film and bubble wrap to protect her.
“I didn’t see her for 22 hours after she was born as I had to have a blood transfusion but I was told it would be a miracle if she survived the night.
“To see what she has achieved after everything she’s been through is just absolutely incredible, it makes me and my husband both so grateful.”
Clare was one of the smallest babies ever recorded in Europe and suffered bronchopulmonary dysplasia at the age of 13, a common condition among premature babies which caused her to have part of her lung removed.
She was kept on a ventilator for 16 weeks after she was born and on her first birthday weighed only 14lbs.
But despite suffering lasting complications with asthma, she has not allowed it to slow her down, this year achieving her Masters degree in psychotherapy in addition to marrying engineer Colin, 40.
“Obviously I don’t remember anything about it but I remember being told about how lucky I was to be here and I’ve always appreciated that,” Clare said.
“It’s not something we talk about every day but on big occasions, like my wedding and my graduation, it always comes up.
“Colin’s family have always been hugely supportive, I think they were a little surprised when I told them.
“My mum always tells me how proud she is of my accomplishments – it means so much to me.”
The couple now live in Dunblane and have already jetted off for a honeymoon on the shores of Lake Garda.
Donna described herself as “proud” of her daughter’s achievements and paid tribute to the doctors and nurses at Simpsons who saved Clare’s life.
“In Colin’s speech, he said there were not two prouder parents in Scotland – that really said it all,” she said.
“To see what Clare has achieved after everything she has been through is just absolutely incredible, it just makes us both so grateful to the medical staff at Simpsons who helped her.
“None of this would have been possible without their tireless dedication.”