A baby expected to die shortly after birth has defied doctors’ expectations and has now been allowed to go home.
Lilly Menear was born four months early at 22 weeks and two days and weighing just 1lb 2oz.
The staff at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital told mum Tayla they had only seen one other baby survive at such a young age. Doctors told Tayla and dad Shane to expect the worst.
Lilly initially needed help breathing and was transferred to a neonatal intensive care unit, where she was put on a ventilator.
The tiny girl suffered three infections during this time, as well as a bleed on the brain and a distended intestine which required major surgery, but she is now on the mend.
Mum Tayla said: “We took each day as it came. Each improvement was a sign that she was becoming more comfortable and settled. She reacts to my voice and will open her eyes when I come in and talk to her. She gives me big beautiful smiles.”
After five months in hospital, Lilly was allowed to go home last week.
Tayla said she was in a state of disbelief, as for the first few months of her daughter’s life, “no one knew if we would ever reach the point of going home as a family”.
Dr Priya Muthukumar, Lilly’s consultant neonatologist, said: “We know babies born so prematurely are at higher risk of future developmental issues.
“Nevertheless, we are reasonably optimistic for Lilly because her brain scans while in the neonatal unit have been reassuring and she has made very encouraging progress.”
Abortion is currently effectively available in Britain for any reason up to 24 weeks, the age at which babies are deemed to be ‘viable’ outside the womb.
However, advances in medical care mean more and more children are surviving at even earlier ages.
Last month, twin sisters born at 22 weeks in the US became the world’s second most premature babies ever to survive.
Makenzie and Makayla Hernandez weighed 1lb 1oz and 1lb 3oz respectively at birth, but they are now five months old and expected to return home from hospital this month.