One of Britain’s tiniest babies was born 17 weeks premature, weighing just a little over a pound. Doctors gave him a slim chance of survival. However, the newborn fought hard for his life for six long months, and is now thriving and meeting some impossible milestones.
Parents Chloé and Adam Hemmett, of Hertfordshire, England, share four kids together. Adam told The Epoch Times via email that he was "overjoyed with excitement" to learn that his wife was expecting Sydney, their fourth.
"Chloé's pregnancy was completely normal up until 23 weeks," Adam, 36, a contracts manager for a scaffolding company, explained. "At 11 p.m. on June 19, 2020, Chloé was woken and realized that she was bleeding and in pain," he recalled. "She described the pain to me as being like labor contractions, so we called for an ambulance immediately."
An ambulance whisked 29-year-old bank manager, Chloé, to the maternity unit at Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow, Essex.
Adam, "worried sick," wasn't able to accompany his wife due to COVID-19 restrictions in place amid the pandemic. The next morning, at around 7 a.m., Chloé called Adam from the hospital to tell him she felt fine. But just over an hour later, the midwife called back saying Chloé was in pain and needed her partner.
"I now know that they knew what was about to happen," Adam reflected. Finding emergency childcare for his other kids, Adam endured a whirlwind of emotions that he had never experienced before as he was on his drive to the hospital.
"As soon as I saw Chloé, she burst out crying, saying, 'He hasn't made it, he hasn't made it,'" said Adam. "I was in complete shock ... little did I know that Sydney, who was born 17 weeks early weighing just 1 pound 3 ounces [538 grams], was still alive and fighting hard for his life in the NICU."
Adam credited the "sheer determination and courage of the nurses who delivered him" for his baby boy's survival.
The couple later found out that Chloé's cervix was shorter than average, causing premature labor and birth, an abnormality that wasn't detected in the scan, Adam told The Epoch Times.
Seeing Sydney for the first time, said Adam, was a surreal experience. "[He was] the most precious thing to us, laying there trying to survive," he recalled. "It was a very hard time for us both, and unexplainable."
Chloé and Adam were warned that babies born with this condition didn't survive beyond the 48-hour mark, Adam told The Epoch Times.
Yet Adam's two powerful mantras—"What will be will be," and, "If it's meant to happen, it will"—kept the family strong as they prepared for the worst.
Sydney beat his odds. He went on to spend the next six months in hospital, not without major challenges, but constantly going from strength to strength.
He was discharged on Dec. 22, 2020, just in time for Christmas.
Speaking to The Epoch Times, Adam called Sydney's homecoming "the best present any parents could ever wish for."
"The whole family was so excited," he explained. "Me and Chloé were a little apprehensive about Sydney coming home, but super excited at the same time. We learnt so much in hospital from the staff."
Sydney, who had already been through so much in his short course of life, needed ongoing medications and oxygen treatment, which Chloé and Adam learned to administer themselves. At the time of writing, the miracle baby boy is doing well, weighing in at 16 pounds 8 ounces (approx. 7.4 kg), and is meeting all the milestones that his parents didn't dare dream of.
For Adam, the best thing about being Sydney’s father is having reason to thank his wife for "everything she has become since going through this really challenging journey together, and giving me such a beautiful baby boy."
Sydney's siblings—Jake, 13; Rosie, 9; Oscar, 4—have also bonded beautifully with their baby brother.
"The way they love and care for him is heartbreaking," said Adam. "We all hold the same family values together, and believe that family is the most important thing in the world."