Extremely premature baby celebrates first birthday

A baby who was expected to die shortly after her premature birth has astounded doctors by reaching her first birthday with no serious side-effects.

Naomi Southern-Augustine gave birth to daughter Wren just 22 weeks into her pregnancy after doctors discovered she was lacking amniotic fluid.

The tiny girl, who weighed just 14oz, was the smallest baby the team had ever treated. She initially “sailed through” her first fortnight in hospital, but her underdeveloped lungs coupled with a rapidly-spreading infection left her seriously ill.

‘She’s too little’

Doctors placed Wren on an oscillating ventilator as a “last resort” to try and expand her lungs, but the treatment was ineffective and she turned a grey-blue colour.

Naomi recalled: “After that, the consultant said ‘We’ve tried everything but she’s too little’. They said they could try steroids, which come with their own risks because it makes you more susceptible to infection, or palliative care.

“I knew she was suffering at this point and I didn’t want to selfishly keep her alive if she was suffering, but [father] Rob wanted to try.”

Hitting her milestones

The couple did not expect the steroids to work, and so at 17 days, Naomi and Rob were able to hold Wren for the first time in order to “say goodbye”.

But when Naomi handed her daughter to Rob, remarkably, all of Wren’s vital signs began to improve. She was placed back in the incubator and the medical staff were able to begin slowly weaning her off oxygen.

While there were some setbacks, including a serious heart problem, since then, Wren has gone from strength to strength and was able to go home after spending her first 131 days in hospitals.

She celebrated her first birthday earlier this month and is hitting all her milestones for her corrected age, which is just eight months.

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