SIOBHAN TANYA YOUNG

OUR LITTLE MIRACLE

SIOBHAN'S STORY

This is an article which appeared in our local newspaper.August 2005.

The story of Siobhan Tanya Young born 19/2/2000 @ 28weeks

    
The day we thought our girl would never see
 
SIOBHAN YOUNG, 5, is ready for term to begin after winning £200 of school essentials in an Evening Times and Marks & Spencer competition. Picture: Nick Ponty
 
SIOBHAN'S amazed everyone with her determination
 
MUM Evelyn with little Siobhan after her birth
 

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The first day of school will be extra special for Kirkintilloch couple Evelyn and Alan Young.

Their daughter Siobhan was born weighing just 2lbs 2oz but now she's ready to start school and begin a new chapter in her remarkable life.

LINDA ROBERTSON meets this inspirational little girl.


THIS precious photo (below right) of Siobhan Young - taken just days after her birth - shows a tiny baby battling for life in an incubator as her mother wills her to survive.

She was born weighing just 2lbs 2oz - roughly the same as a bag of sugar - and so small that her parents, Evelyn and Alan, wondered if she would survive.

But now, as she runs around the garden with a huge grin on her face, it's clear why her mum calls five-year-old Siobhan "her little miracle".

Siobhan will start school later this month. And while it's a special day for every parent, it's a day Evelyn and Alan, who live in Kirkintilloch, never thought they would see.

Siobhan, who has cerebral palsy and epilepsy, will attend a mainstream school and Evelyn, 39, knows she will be crying her eyes out as she watches her little girl walk through the school gates.

"In the past year she has amazed everyone with her determination," says Evelyn, who has two other children - Lauren, 12, and Devin, who is almost three.

"She's an inspiration and when I look at her I can't believe she's going to start school.

"She's been in every therapy going - speech, physical, occupational - and was supposed to start school last year but she wasn't ready.

"All the family will be at school to see her off. It's a day we've always hoped for."

Siobhan can't wait to start school. She proudly shows off her new pink and purple Little Miss Naughty schoolbag - a present from her nursery school - and demonstrates how she can write her name, her face screwed up in concentration.

And she can't wait to pick her school essentials - thanks to a £200 win in an Evening Times and Marks & Spencer schoolwear competition.

Siobhan's short life has been punctuated by operations and hospital visits.

Evelyn, who was living in South Africa at the time, was 28 weeks pregnant when she was rushed to hospital with placenta previa - where the placenta lies unusually low in the uterus.

Due to the danger of acute blood loss, the condition can be fatal for both mother and baby if not diagnosed.

"I'd had a horrible pregnancy. When I was 28 weeks gone I visited Sun City for the weekend but on my first night there woke at 5am to find I'd haemorrhaged.

"I was rushed to hospital and kept thinking 'my baby is dead'. All I could see was blood."

Siobhan was born that afternoon. And when she was 19 days old she was transferred to a hospital in Johannesburg to have an operation to close a 25cm valve between her heart and lungs.

"I couldn't believe they were going to operate on her. I remember a woman who saw her in a lift said 'look at the size of that'. I thought 'that's my baby you're talking about'.

"We thought we were going to lose her, but she proved she was a fighter."

Siobhan also had a collapsed lung and spent the next five weeks on and off oxygen.

Evelyn added: "We wondered if we'd ever get her out of hospital. But finally, on May 9, we took her home."

However, there was more trauma to come.

On May 28, Evelyn - who had Lauren and Siobhan with her at the time - was subjected to a hijack outside the family home.

"I had just pulled into our driveway when a car screeched behind me," recalls Evelyn.

"Four men jumped out and held guns to our heads - even Siobhan in her car seat.

"They then threw the baby chair on the ground. My husband came running out and they turned their guns on him before they fled with my car.

"A couple of days later we booked our flights back home to Scotland."

The family had only been home for a few weeks when Siobhan stopped breathing and ended up in hospital, where it was discovered she had cerebral palsy and epilepsy.

"At the end of the same year she contracted a virus and ended up in intensive care at Yorkhill. She was on a ventilator as her body wasn't strong enough to fight it," says Evelyn.

"She also needed an operation to correct her left foot, which was clubbed. We thought she wouldn't be able to walk. When she was two she took her first steps and I cried my eyes out."

It's been a rollercoaster five years for the family. But Evelyn has no doubt Siobhan will take everything in her stride.

"Sometimes it's felt like one step forward then two steps back. But whatever life throws at her, she'll always conquer. She's our little miracle."