A pregnant mom whose waters broke at 20 weeks was urged to abort. Refusing termination, she delivered her baby son 10 weeks later, and her little fighter has thrived despite being given a 1 percent chance of survival.
Mom-of-three Ann Rice, 36, from Cardiff, Wales, in the UK, was told she would miscarry naturally within 48 hours after her water broke, and was sent home from hospital with antibiotics. However, when she didn’t miscarry, she was advised by multiple doctors to terminate her pregnancy, due to the risk of her contracting sepsis.
Ann says she was told her baby only had a 1 percent chance to survive.
Baby Chester Rice was born weighing just 1 pound 8 ounces—less than a bag of sugar—and is now a happy 9-month-old.
Ann, who is also mom to 7-year-old Connor and 19-month-old Riley, said receiving the news was “horrific,” but she and husband Chris, 38, took the decision to continue the pregnancy.
Baby Chester was delivered by emergency C-section on Dec. 23, 2020, and quickly diagnosed with chronic lung disease. He spent four months in the neonatal unit at the hospital after he was born, with Ann and Chris taking turns to visit him.
Ann said there were at least four occasions where his condition was critical, and doctors didn’t think he would make it. Although he is still on oxygen 24 hours a day, Chester has beaten the odds and is now thriving at home with his older brothers.
She described Chester as a “lovely little boy” who is always smiling and giggling, despite all he has been through.
Ann said: “He’s just starting to develop a personality now, and he’s always smiling, even after everything he’s gone through. I don’t think I could do the same.
“He’s happy, he’s okay, [and] he’s a lovely little boy. But if I had gone by what the doctors had told me, I’d have terminated him and missed out on how he is now.
“I just want to raise awareness for other mums who might go through the same thing. I was just sent home with antibiotics and told to rest until I miscarried, and then told my baby wouldn’t survive past 48 hours.
“Another doctor said, ‘we advise you to terminate,’ there was a risk to my life, if I got sepsis. One said, ‘you’ve got a 1 percent chance of the baby surviving the week,’ and within a week I would miscarry.
“I know the doctors have to be very straight about the chances, but for us, a 1 percent chance was still a chance. I spoke to my husband and we thought, if it’s going to happen it’s going to happen, but we might as well give it a go and carry on.”
Ann also described the 10 weeks between her waters breaking and giving birth to Chester as a “really weird” time.
“When you get towards the end of a pregnancy, you’re kind of just waiting and hoping to go into labor, because you know it’s going to happen soon,” she said.
“With Chester, it was like that for 10 weeks. It was a really weird time. I was just waiting for 10 weeks, and trying to stay on bed rest as much as I could whilst also looking after another, 8-month-old baby.”
However, Ann said that with every week they got further into the pregnancy, it was like “a little victory,” because it was another week of their unborn baby “getting bigger and stronger.”
“It was just really important to us to get past the 24-week mark, because that’s when the pregnancy is deemed viable,” she added. “If he was born before that, the doctors wouldn’t have intervened to save his life if he needed it.
“The emotional rollercoaster was just unbelievable. Nothing prepares you for it.”
Ann said that in those four months, Chester had sepsis four times, had a blood transfusion, and almost had to have surgery for a perforated bowel, “but luckily that fixed itself.”
“We were able to bring him home in April, but just two weeks later, he caught bronchiolitis, which developed into four other respiratory viruses, so he had to go back to the ICU,” she said.
“He was in there for four days in a critical condition. It felt like one step forward, two steps back, all the time. They get ill so quickly, but they also get better so quickly as well.”
Chester now weighs 16 pounds 14 ounces, which is still significantly below the 22-pound average for babies of his age.
Ann said that his physiotherapists are “happy” with his development from when he was born, adding that she would not have been able to get through his early months without support from the Little Heartbeats charity.
The charity was set up by a mother who went through what Ann went through with Chester, but sadly lost her baby.
“She was amazing,” Ann said. “She gave me all the information that the doctors didn’t. She sent me information leaflets and care packages with stuff like hand cream and teddy bears in.
“And after Chester was born, she stayed in touch and sent me messages asking how he was doing.
“I’m so glad I found that charity, it was such a huge help with everything we went through.”
Epoch Times staff contributed to this report.