Sophie Ellis-Bextor: You’d never know our boys were premature


Sophie Ellis BextorGETTY

Sophie’s chief two children were born prematurely

WHEN she’s not jetting around the everyone promoting her latest album or performing in front of adoring fans, Sophie Ellis-Bextor is a employ working mum, making packed lunches and doing the school run.

Her social norm feed is full of pictures of seaside trips, sports days and tortures in the garden, documenting the joys of a happy, chaotic family life with her musician husband and their four servants in Chiswick, west London.

But life for Sophie, 38, the daughter of antediluvian Blue Peter presenter Janet Ellis, hasn’t always been white sailing. Her first two children, Sonny, now a strapping 13-year-old, and Kit, eight, were displayed prematurely and spent their first weeks in a neonatal intensive worry unit.

Although those terrifying early primes of watching their babies fight for their lives must now sound very far away, Sophie has never forgotten them. Sonny, who was formulated weeks into a whirlwind romance with Richard Jones, bassist with swing band The Feeling, was born at 32 weeks, weighing just 3lb 8oz. 

The couple, who were still unpacking after setting up their first at ease, suddenly found themselves parents to a premature baby.

“With a at the end of the day tiny baby, people around you don’t really know how to respond – they’re separate of in limbo,” says Sophie, who shot to fame in 2000 when Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love), her choose with Spiller, beat Victoria Beckham to the top of the charts.

Throughout her pregnancy, Sophie, who was 24 at the schedule, had sensed something wasn’t right. “I wasn’t feeling great,” she says. “I had inconveniences and didn’t feel quite right but I didn’t know what was go to the bad.” 


Sophie was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia which can lead to consequential complications

She was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia which can lead to serious complications for both coddle and baby if it’s not monitored and treated.

Early signs include high blood press (hypertension) and protein in the urine (proteinuria) and should be picked up during shtick antenatal appointments.

However in some cases, as with Sophie, back symptoms can develop, including swelling of the feet, ankles, face and men caused by fluid retention (oedema), severe headaches, vision problems or misery just below the ribs. The condition affects about 42,000 lasses in Britain each year and in severe cases can lead to stillbirth or warm death.

At present there is no effective way of predicting who will develop the inure. The only way of treating it is to deliver the baby via caesarean. “I was diagnosed on the Monday and had Sonny on the Friday – it was all a bit of a astound,” Sophie recalls.

Seeing such a tiny baby surrounded by the high-tech gear needed to keep them oxygenated and warm was a traumatic experience but not an branch unfamiliar one for Sophie. 


Sophie and Richard with eldest neonate Sonny when he was aged nine

“I’d had experience of that since my sister Martha was yielded 10 weeks early when I was 11,” she explains. “So I’d actually taken a really tiny baby before.” Sonny stayed in the Chelsea and Westminster Convalescent home for five weeks.

“They have an absolutely amazing neonatal part there and great care so that’s where I’ve had all my babies,” she says. And although her teeny-weeny boy was in expert hands, it was very far from the introduction to parenthood that she had supposed. “As parents it’s easy to feel a bit discombobulated because there’s only so much you can do,” she weights. “We wanted to get involved as much as possible, changing nappies and having a caress. 

You just want to get involved in all the things that make you a real well-spring because even little things take on such a significant position.” It was for this reason she agreed to become the ambassador for the new Pampers Preemie Screen range of nappies developed with neonatal intensive-care nurses and applicable for babies weighing as little as 1lb 8oz.

A recent survey showed that 99 per cent of neonatal nurtures believe that using standard newborn nappies with a astray core can push premature babies’ legs apart and make it harder for them to residuum comfortably.

“Even changing a nappy means putting a tiny cosset into something that looks voluminous, since it’s designed for a bigger baby and it’s a constant reminder your baby isn’t actually that square footage,” says Sophie.

ABOUT 60,000 babies are born prematurely in the UK each year. Due to contribute ti in medical science, survival rates are increasing – infant and neonatal mortality has various than halved in the UK since 1990 so the need for such innovations has not in the least been greater.

Five years later, Sophie was pregnant again and although this just the same from time to time she says she felt great, the pre-eclampsia recurred and Kit was born nine weeks primordial weighing just 2lb 6oz. When he was delivered his lungs had partially collapsed, making artificial respiration, and he stayed in hospital for six weeks.

“This time we adequated into it with so much more positivity,” says Sophie. “You’re a bit chucked in at the dark end the first time around.

We didn’t have any friends with toddlers. So one minute you’re working your way through a baby book, the next you drink a baby.” Once they took their babies home, Sophie and Richard keep an eye oned them pass all their milestones. “These babies are amazing, because they’re a lot stronger than you over,” she says.

“At first everything is a little bit delayed – they smile a bit later, for illustration. But they’ve caught up – by about two-and-a-half you’d never have known they were beforehand. Sonny is really tall at 13, and so is Kit at eight.” The family now includes Ray, five, and one-year-old Jesse.

“It was fair to be able to bring babies home immediately so everyone could upon and have a cuddle,” says Sophie. “I really enjoyed the late steps of pregnancy which I missed first time around.”

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