By Charlotte Nisbet
A stunning mum who lost her ‘perfect’ toddler to deadly flu last Christmas is celebrating the birth of her new baby daughter.
Joelle Hughes suffered every parent’s worst nightmare when finding 16 month old, Lula, not breathing in her cot on December 30 last year.
She’d contracted a deadly strain of the flu and died less than 24 hours after being struck down with the illness.
Joelle, who was 20 weeks pregnant at the time of losing Lula, cancelled her gender reveal and chose to find out the sex of her baby three days after her daughter’s death.
Both Joelle and fiancé, Kasey Pearce, 22, were over the moon to be expecting another daughter who they have since named India.
She is now six months old and will be celebrating her first Christmas in a few weeks’ time.
Joelle is now educating other parents about the dangers of the flu virus and how vaccinating both yourself and your children can save lives.
The full time mum said: “Lula was a perfectly healthy little girl who had only been ill twice in her entire life.
“I was shocked as I found out the common flu was the cause of her death.
“I’d performed CPR on her for 17 minutes before the ambulance arrived but nothing helped bring her back.
“Being pregnant helped me get through it, I knew I couldn’t give up and I tried my best to stay as healthy as possible for my unborn baby.
“When we found out we were having another girl I was so happy.
“Nothing would ever replace Lula but knowing I’d have another daughter, which would have been Lula’s little sister, gave me so much joy.
“In some of the darkest moments of our lives India has helped keep me going.”
Lula was a perfectly healthy toddler before falling ill on December 30 and Joelle recalls being the first person to find her daughter lifeless.
She said: “Me and my fiancé, Kasey, had put Lula and Teddy to bed as normal that night, she’d had the best Christmas and was her normal smiling self.
“I went to check her at 11am as we had been doing every few hours throughout the night and I had a horrible feeling before entering the room.
“I couldn’t see the colour of Lula’s face but once the lights were on I began screaming hysterically.
“She was blue and wasn’t breathing, I picked her up and started performing CPR but I already knew it was too late.
“I was devastated and I still miss her every second of every day but having India has made it easier.
“When she was born I finally had another little person to care for and looking back now I don’t know how I would have coped without her or Teddy.”
Joelle has bravely shared her story across social media to educate parents about the seriousness of flu and symptoms to look out for.
She said: “My whole family have already had the flu jab this year, we can’t take the risk of India or Teddy getting it.
“Lula was killed by flu in less than 24 hours of it being in her system to so it just shows how dangerous it can be.
“I feel like a part of me died with Lula last year but I try my best to stay strong for other two children.
“The best advice I can give any parents after our ordeal is just to make sure you’re as protected as possible, whether that be through vaccines, nasal sprays or just general healthy eating and keeping warm.”