US baby born at twenty-two weeks defies expectations

A baby born in North Carolina at twenty-two weeks has since left doctors stunned and defied all expectations.

Willow Noland was born weighing just 1 pound and 5 ounces and doctors advised that there was no chance of survival.

Despite being asked on a number of occasions if they wanted to discontinue care and simply let their daughter die, her parents chose life and she is now aged 20 months and doing well.

Fight for life

Willow was born on 4 March, 2015 and diagnosed with bronchopulmonary dysplasia, a chronic lung disorder.

She underwent numerous surgeries and spent a total of 236 days in neonatal intensive care at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio, USA.

Since leaving neonatal care, Willow’s progress has been remarkable.

Exceeding expectations

Chief of Neonatology at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Dr. Edward Shepherd, said: “When I was a resident back in 1999, people said nobody under 24 weeks can ever survive, and now 23-weekers are surviving routinely.”

“Now, people are saying under 23 weeks really can’t survive, and there’s Willow, who was 22 weeks.”

Mum Courtney said that Willow’s scars that have been left by the surgeries will continue to be a reminder of how far her daughter has come.


She said: “I used to hate the scars … because they just reminded me of all the sad nights and the hard nights of waiting in the OR room and waiting outside her room to see if she’s going to survive.

“But now, I look at them and I’m like, ‘This is just proof of what you can overcome, what you can take.'”

Abortion is currently legal up to 24 weeks in England and Wales on a broad range of criteria, including if it is deemed that the expectant mother’s mental health would suffer as a result of having the baby.

For other stories of families who chose life, visit

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