A premature baby born at 25 weeks and 1 day’s gestation was given only a 10 percent chance of survival. However, she has beaten the unimaginable odds stacked against her and stunned doctors by going back home.
Mirren Cook, from Dunfermline, a town in Scotland, was born on May 10, 2020, via emergency C-section at Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh weighing 1.02 pounds (approx. 463 g). According to Mirren’s father, Kevin, 30, the little girl was smaller than the size of his hand.
Katie is Mirren’s mom, and her pregnancy had been normal until she woke up at 25 weeks and realized she couldn’t feel her baby moving.
Recognizing the symptoms that her sister had experienced with pre-eclampsia, Katie, 28, an early years officer, went straight to the hospital for a checkup.
Doctors found high levels of protein in her urine and diagnosed her with pre-eclampsia—a potentially deadly condition that causes blood pressure to rise and can lead to seizures causing serious illness for mother and baby.
Katie said, “I was told it was very uncommon to get pre-eclampsia before 30 weeks, but I did have symptoms previously like headaches and raised blood pressure.”
Alluding to the moment, Kevin said: “I wasn’t allowed in the whole time, I waited in the car park for five hours when I got a call from Katie saying I should go home.”
After he returned home, within just 10 minutes Kevin received another call from the hospital stating that Katie was scheduled to have an emergency cesarean section at 3 p.m. the following day.
The next day, tiny Mirren was born weighing less than half a bag of sugar. “[S]he was just tiny, my hand was bigger than her and her skin was very transparent,” Kevin recalled.
The doctor also mentioned that if they had waited any longer, both the mother and daughter wouldn’t have survived as the pre-eclampsia diagnosis was killing both of them; however, the mother-daughter duo luckily made it.
After Mirren’s birth, she was whisked away to intensive care, and her anxious parents weren’t allowed to hold her for a period of 10 days.
Kevin said, “It was hard because as soon as she was born we had to stay away from her.”
However, when they could finally hold her after 10 days, the couple was clearly over the moon. “It was such an overwhelming feeling getting to hold her for the first time,” Katie said. “I could have cried happy tears. I had been waiting for that day for ages. In a sense, it felt like she wasn’t mine until that day.”
Right then, they started to do all the things that any parent would do, like changing nappies, reading her stories, and giving their precious daughter kangaroo cuddles.
Specialists showed Katie how to have special “kangaroo cuddles” with her little daughter, as skin-to-skin contact helps increase the bond between the mother and a baby and helps regulate the babies’ heartbeat.
Recalling the moment, Katie said: “It was an automatic bond and my motherly instinct kicked in, the kangaroo cuddles really made a difference because the skin to skin touch is crucial for bonding and developing, Mirren loved it.”
However, the next four months after Mirren’s birth seemed like a roller coaster ride for the new parents. The little girl had to undergo five blood transfusions. Her mom said, “[She] has been through more at hospital than most will go through in a lifetime.”
She added: “In 12 hours she went from having a 10 percent chance of survival to a 70 percent chance, she just kept fighting.”
But after daily cuddles with Katie, Mirren went from strength to strength and finally was strong enough to make it back home in the first week of September after spending 16 long weeks at the hospital.
On joining her parents at home, Katie said both she and her husband are immensely grateful that they can finally be a family together.
“It almost feels like she has just been born, I know she has been here for three months but when we got the call to pick her up that’s when it sunk in that we were now parents to a healthy baby girl,” Katie said.
The couple has shared their story to help future mothers recognize signs of pre-eclampsia so that they can get a checkup if it arises.
“I’m so grateful that we went and got checked, it really did save us,” Katie said.
Additionally, Katie also expressed her gratitude to the NHS and all of the doctors and nurses who helped make it possible for Mirren to return home.
“Now she weighs seven pounds, is getting stronger by the day and we’re all just taking it a day at a time,” Katie concluded.
Caters News Agency contributed to this story.