Love, Luck and Care Help Baby Born at 23 Weeks Survive


Chelsey with her mom Tameka Photo Credit: John Luke - The Times

Chelsey Hansbrough was due to arrive on 2nd February but instead came into the world on 8th October at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital in Illinois. Her parents Tamika Harris and Charles Hansbrough cannot believe that a baby given 18 percent chance of survival is alive and well.

The first jolt came when at 22 weeks of pregnancy Tamika gave birth to Chelsey’s twin sister Chazey. The baby was too fragile to survive even in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Tiny Chazey only survived three minutes and everyone prayed that her twin sister was luckier.

Chelsey was born eight days later at 23 weeks and two days gestation. She was less than a pound weighing 15.5 ounces and fit snugly in her father’s palm.

“God, is good, and he’s still in the miracle business,” said her mother.

According to Dr. Stavros Ionides, the director of neonatal intensive care at the hospital it was the extra eight days Chelsey stayed in her mother’s womb that gave her the additional strength to tackle the outside world.

“The reason she’s so special … is there is no objective evidence that she has any delays or defects,” Ionides said. “Who knows, it was probably a little bit of luck, but I have to give credit to the excellent care from the (nurses and doctors) at the hospital.”

Chelsey, however, was still the earliest ever born baby in the hospital who survived in spite the   National Institute of Child Health and Human Development giving only 18 percent chances of survival for babies born in 23 weeks.

The miracle baby’s parents drove down 45 minutes every day to be at the hospital close to their baby. There they prayed and put their trust completely on the medical staff.

“Usually if God blesses you with something good, you have to put in some kind of work,” Hansbrough said.

Now 5 pounds and 4 ounces Chelsey is back home from the hospital where she would have to go regularly for checkups until the age of one.

Her parents consider her life as a miracle and already know what they will tell her about her birth and her sister when she grows up.

“(I’ll tell her) she has her own personal angel,” Tamika said. Adds her father,“I’ll tell her ‘You were a blessing. Not only that, ‘You were a miracle.’

– Atula, Staff Writer

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About the author


Atula is a writer, traveler, and a nature-lover. She is also mom to a boy who seems to have inherited all her creative genes. When Atula is not busy making up stories with her son, she writes for numerous magazines, websites, and blogs. She is also working on her site on endangered species called

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