A MUM who lost her "perfect" toddler to deadly flu last Christmas has welcomed her baby sister.
Joelle Hughes's world fell apart when she found her 16-month-old baby girl in her cot not breathing.
Lulabelle Snow Hurst had caught a deadly strain of flu, and died less than 24 hours after falling ill, on December 30.
Three days after Lula's death, mum Joelle, who was 20 weeks pregnant, and dad Kasey Pearce, 22, discovered they were expecting another baby girl.
Baby India is now six months old and will celebrate her first Christmas – the first her parents will face without little Lula.
Joelle said after the nightmare they have faced, she wants to ensure other parents are aware of the dangers flu can pose to little ones.
She is calling for all parents to get vaccinated, and ensure their kids get the jab too.
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 with I found out the common flu was the cause of her death."
Desperate to save her daughter, Joelle performed CPR on Lula for 17 minutes before the ambulance arrived.
But it was too late.
In spite of her agonising grief, Joelle knew she had to carry on – for the sake of her unborn baby and her son Teddy.
"Being pregnant helped me get through it," she admitted.
"I couldn't give up and I tried my best to stay as healthy as possible for my unborn baby."
And when the couple found out they were expecting another girl they were over the moon.
Joelle said: "Nothing could ever replace Lula but knowing I'd have another daughter, which would have been Lula's little sister, gave me so much joy.
I was devastated and I still miss her every second of every day but having India has made it easier
"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.
Joelle was 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 on 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 my 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."
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