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Bury St Edmunds Trees of Hope bauble project delivers Mia’s story



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With this year’s Trees of Hope baubles project in Bury St Edmunds already receiving a lot of interest, special stories about lockdown babies have come to the forefront, including that of Mia Quintana.

When the Quintanas moved to Guildhall Street, in Bury St Edmunds, in March, little did they know that in May Mia would be born 10 weeks premature and with a heart condition.

Mum Larissa wants to use her bauble message to raise awareness and send hope to parents of this year’s lockdown babies who are in similar situations.

Larissa Quintana with Mia. (52015742)
Larissa Quintana with Mia. (52015742)

She said: “It is a very difficult journey with a sick or premature baby and I think this is a wonderful idea to give those parents hope for the future.”

Mia was born on May 17, weighing 3lb 11oz at West Suffolk Hospital.

Larissa said: “It was such a shock and so quick. The pregnancy had been fine and nothing was picked up on previous scans.

“But when we went in for some monitoring it was found Mia was not growing normally as there was something going on with her heart.”

Larissa, who was only 30 weeks and six days pregnant, was rushed into theatre and Mia was delivered, as it was found she had pulmonary valve stenosis – a narrowing of the valve between the right ventricle of the heart and pulmonary arteries of the lung which reduces blood flow.

After two days, Mia and Larissa were moved to Evelina Children’s Hospital, in London, where she had heart surgery at six-days-old and, two weeks later, an additional procedure. They remained in hospital for more than a month.

Now, though Mia will need constant checks for the rest of her life, she is doing really well.

Larissa said: “This is why I wanted to do this and spread awareness, some including me, did not know about premature babies and with our story I wanted to give a little hope to others.”

The Trees of Hope project, organised by Michelle Freeman, of art group The Crafty Foxes, and Bury St Edmunds and Beyond chairwoman Melanie Lesser, is a Christmas celebration of the ‘lockdown babies of 2021’.

Michelle Freeman of Crafty Foxes, left, with Chairwoman of Bury St Edmunds and Beyond, Melanie Lesser, with one of the Trees of Hope baubles. Picture by Richard Marsham.
Michelle Freeman of Crafty Foxes, left, with Chairwoman of Bury St Edmunds and Beyond, Melanie Lesser, with one of the Trees of Hope baubles. Picture by Richard Marsham.

Each keepsake bauble will show the name of the baby as well as the date on which they were born on the outside.

But inside is where the real memory will be made.

Michelle said: “We will have details about the baby, including their weight and the time they were born, on cards inside the bauble, but also a message of hope from their loved one.”

The trees will feature on Angel Hill, at St Edmundsbury Cathedral, in The Traverse and at the front of the Theatre Royal. The baubles will be placed on the trees on November 18.

For those from Bury St Edmunds and the surrounding area who wishes to do a Trees of Hope bauble for a 2021 lockdown baby, click here.

Read more: All the latest news from Suffolk

Read more: All the latest news from Bury St Edmunds