When Millie McDonagh was born almost four months premature, doctors put her chances of survival at one in a hundred.
Only 11 inches long and weighing a mere 20oz, Millie could fit in her father’s palm and her hands were the size of 10p pieces.
Millie is just a day older than Amillia Taylor, the baby born in the U.S., and is thought to be one of the most premature babies born in Britain to survive.
Her twin sister Ellie died at birth and Millie stopped breathing several times. When she was two weeks old her parents were told to prepare for the worst.
But after four months in hospital, Millie, who now weighs 5lb, has finally been allowed to go home and doctors say there are no signs that she will suffer lasting problems. Born at just 22 weeks and six days, Millie was only a week older than the world’s most premature baby, Amillia Taylor, who was born in Florida at 21 weeks and six days.
Millie was kept on a life-support machine in the specialist unit at St Mary’s Hospital, Manchester. Her mother added: ‘There were times when we were called in urgently because they feared the worst. All we could do was tell ourselves she was in the best place.’ Millie’s father, Tom, 22, said: ‘When they told us she had just one chance in a hundred we couldn’t stop thinking, “What if she’s the one per cent?”.’
Amy Edmunds, from the premature baby charity Bliss, said: ‘Millie proves that not all babies born very premature are disabled or have severe health problems.’
Lately, there have been a lot of micro preemies in the news. What people do not know is that most hospitals have an NICU that is probably close to capacity, a good portion of the time. Unless you have had a premature baby or you are a friend of someone who has had a preemie you would not be given access to these little fighters. Every so often the news of these babies makes it into the mainstream media and the world is shocked at how a baby that is so small could survive. The dedicated doctors and nurses spend endless hours taking special care of these precious babies along with the parents who set up vigils at the bedside.
For all those people who think that all of the funding and resources should not be given to a department with such a high chance of disability, you should just visit the NICU once. No one can ever comment on something they have never experienced. Once you see such a small being fighting for everything they have, your perception of life changes.