A "miracle" baby daughter born at 23 weeks and six days, weighing less than a pineapple, is finally home—four months after being born in the middle of lockdown.
Tiffany Bushell, 32, and husband Matthew, 30, feared their daughter Millie wouldn’t survive after she was born 17 weeks premature.
The tot weighed 1 pound, 7 ounces (approx. 652 g) at birth, had a massive hole in her heart, and spent the first five weeks of her life on a ventilator at St. Peter’s Hospital, Chertsey, Surrey, after she stopped breathing at just 2 days old.
But the plucky newborn defied all odds to survive, and her parents, from Watford, Hertfordshire, are now celebrating after doctors finally allowed them to bring her home last week.
“She’s a miracle," said Tiffany, an embroiderer. “Now she’s here, it’s such a weight off our shoulders.
Matthew, a lorry driver, added: “We’re over the moon that she’s back.
“It’s like being on Cloud nine.
“We’re fulfilled—we've been waiting for this moment for so long.”
Due to lockdown restrictions, Matthew was only able to see his new daughter for 10 minutes before having to leave the hospital.
For the first week, he could only see Millie via video call, while mom Tiffany was restricted to visiting her for two hours per day and could only hold her newborn daughter while wearing gloves.
The tot fought off seven infections, including suspected sepsis, and recovered from surgery to fix the hole in her heart before doctors deemed her fit enough to return home.
The experience was doubly stressful for Matthew and Tiffany, who lost their first daughter, Ruby, after she was born at just 24 weeks and 3 days old in 2018.
“We had Ruby for a week and then she passed away," Matthew said. “It was the worst day of my life. It was really dark.
“We are in a much better place now.
“I want to thank all the hospital staff for doing their best.
“We’re just so thankful to be finally back at home all together, safe.”
The newly reunited family intend to spend the coming weeks getting some well-earned rest and introducing their new daughter to relatives, who weren’t allowed to visit Millie while she was in hospital.
“It’s nice that a few friends and family have finally been able to see her," said Tiffany, who gave birth to Millie on April 26. “I’m so happy she is back. It was emotionally draining having to leave her."
She adds: “I just want to spend lots of time in the house with her.”