A miracle baby born four months early and weighing less than a bottle of wine spent her first New Year at home despite being given only 48 hours to live twice.
Isabella-Jean Woodhouse was born at 25 weeks into her mom Shannon Jones’s pregnancy weighing just 1 pound 10 ounces (approx. 737 g). She was small enough to fit in her mother’s hand.
The tiny toddler was so premature that Shannon, 23, a cleaner, and partner Jordan Woodhouse, 27, a behavioral support worker, could see her tiny heart beating through her transparent skin.
Doctors told the couple she had a “fifty percent chance” of making it through the first two days of her life. The little girl then again had to fight for her life when she was diagnosed with sepsis at just 2 weeks old.
However, the fighter Isabella-Jean, who now weighs 8 pounds (approx. 4 kg), refused to give up and managed to make it home from the hospital in time to see in the new decade with her proud parents and older brother Isaac, 4.
Doting mom Shannon said: “She is a battler and she is definitely our miracle baby.
“She’s still a bit small for her age and she is on medication for her heart, but she is home and that is the main thing.
“We feel very lucky to have her home, we are super proud of her.
“She just didn’t give up, she was determined to make it through everything.”
Shannon definitely considers Isabella-Jean a “miracle baby” after she was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
The mother was told after the birth of her son Isaac that if she got pregnant again, it wouldn’t be successful. However, Isabella-Jean proved all the critics wrong and was born at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary in June 2019.
Shannon was rushed to Royal Preston Hospital, where the couple were told her chances of survival were slim. She was then given drugs and pain relief after Isabella-Jean was born but feared the worst when her precious newborn was not with her when she came round.
She said: “When I came round properly, I looked beside me and there was no baby. I was in a totally different unit and didn’t know what had happened to her.
“There are so many things that go through your head.
“I just thought what sort of mother does that make me if I can’t be with her while she takes her last breath?”
Shannon added: “We couldn’t touch her as her skin would burn—all we could do was sit and watch our baby fight for her life, it was awful.
“It was a week before we were able to touch her skin. We were told we had 50 percent chance of her making the first 48 hours.
“It was the worst thing I have ever heard in my life.
“We knew she was going to come early because my waters broke at 23 weeks.
“They said my waters could re-generate and I could go full-term, but we were trying to prepare for her to come early.
“The cut off point is 24 weeks. If she was born at 24 weeks and she wasn’t breathing, they wouldn’t have helped her breathe. Fortunately she was born a week after the cut off.”
Shannon further continued: “She was doing ok up until she was five days old. I spent the whole day with her while my partner was at work.
“I went back to the hotel, had some food and he rang up and said ‘you need to come back to the unit.’
“There was about six nurses around the incubator. I dropped to the floor because I thought she had died and I wasn’t there with her.”
The newborn was then put in a specialist neonatal intensive care unit and contracted sepsis at just 2 weeks when doctors again told Shannon and Jordan to prepare for the worst.
Isabella-Jean then also survived an emergency operation for a hole in her heart valve during her three-month stay at the hospital.
Shannon added: “It was a simple operation, but it felt like brain surgery to me. She was so small and we didn’t know if she would make it.
“Every bump in the road, I thought that it was the last we would see of her.”
Now, Shannon is calling for more help for those parents who have premature babies.
She said: “I feel like I didn’t get the help I needed to cope with the trauma. Nobody understands how hard the neonatal ward is until you’re in there.
“It’s very difficult to process and after three months being there I started to get cabin fever. It has a massive effect on your mental health.
“I think more people should know about the dangers of premature birth and the effect it has on children and parents.
“More people need to talk about it, there is help out there.”