Gallery: Ipswich girl Genna marks her 18th birthday - a day her family thought she’d never see
- Credit: Archant
When tiny Genna Packer was born four months early doctors prepared her parents for the worst.
Cheryl and Robert Packer had already lost one daughter, Sophie – Genna’s twin.
Born suddenly in June 1995, when Cheryl’s waters broke, Sophie, who weighed just 1lb, was too little to survive.
Medics at Ipswich Hospital performed, what was at the time a pioneering procedure, placing a stitch into Cheryl’s cervix to try and prevent her second baby, Genna from arriving early. But 10 days later on July 6 the tiny tot was born.
It was two weeks before her parents were allowed to cuddle her and because she suffered brain damage, doctors were not hopeful of Genna surviving.
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But on Saturday, along with Genna’s younger brother CJ, the couple celebrated Genna’s 18th birthday – a day 44-year-old Cheryl and her 46-year-old husband, of Lambeth Close, Ipswich, never thought they would see.
“I was over the moon to find out I was pregnant, it was almost at five months though so it was a bit of a shock,” Mrs Packer said.
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“A couple of weeks later I was giving birth to Sophie. She lived for less than an hour. We had to plan a funeral for Sophie not knowing if Genna was going to survive.”
Weighing just 1lb 6 oz, Genna was in and out of Addenbrooke’s Hospital and specialist hospitals in London.
Mum Cheryl said: “Doctors didn’t give us a good prognosis. They told us not to get our hopes up.”
Genna, a student at Suffolk One, suffers cerebral palsy and other complications.
“She’s a typical teenager,” said Mrs Packer. “She’s lovely, great fun and always smiling.
“We are so proud of her, we never thought we would see this day.”