A premature baby born at 25 weeks and one day gestation period was given a zero percent chance of survival. However, he has defied the unimaginable odds stacked against him and joined his family of six after spending five months at the hospital.
Melissa Shirley, 29, from Port Talbot, South Wales, the United Kingdom, was shocked to know she was pregnant with a fifth baby named Theodore. The mother of five immediately got booked under a consultant, who checked her up twice a week. However, no one expected there was an issue, as a week-20 scan also showed no chances that Melissa would have a premature birth, according to a Facebook post.
On April 9, she was admitted to Singleton Hospital, Swansea, after she woke up bleeding heavily.
Meanwhile, according to Caters News Agency, the mother’s temperature skyrocketed to 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit), and her heart rate more than doubled to 200 beats per minute, leading doctors to fear she was suffering from Covid-19.
It was considered that Melissa would be moved to a hospital that had an intensive care bed for her, but unfortunately, that hospital lacked a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Doctors had informed the expectant mother that her unborn baby’s prognosis wasn’t good and he would be left to die as it was important to first give her the care she needed.
“[O]bviously this broke my heart and I guess I found a little energy in me to ask to go elsewhere,” Melissa shared on the post on Facebook. It was later determined that she would be transferred to University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, where the baby would be given a better chance.
“I would always choose my baby boy over me,” Melissa told Caters News Agency, recalling the moment. “Doctors had given him a zero percent chance of survival but I knew I couldn’t give up on him.”
Despite the cards being stacked against little Theodore, he came into the world alive at 25 weeks and one day premature following an emergency C-section, weighing just 1 pound 11 ounces (approx. 765 g)—less than a bag of sugar.
It later transpired that Melissa was actually suffering from a life-threatening combination of a blood infection, staphylococcus, sepsis, and chorioamnionitis—a bacterial infection that can affect pregnant women.
Doctors hadn’t even expected the youngster to survive birth, fearing the infections Melissa was suffering from had spread to him.
After his birth, Theodore was whisked away to NICU, as he couldn’t breathe on his own, and was placed on a ventilator for the first six weeks of his life.
The plucky newborn suffered a host of medical issues. Theodore fought off sepsis, two bouts of a serious e-coli infection, and cytomegalovirus while staying at the hospital. At one point, he had to be given CPR for severe reflux. Additionally, he also underwent laser eye surgery at 101 days.
Due to strict visiting rules owing to Covid-19, Melissa and Theodore couldn’t see David, the newborn’s father, for over a month, until the mother-son duo were well enough to return to Singleton Hospital in Swansea in late May.
That period of time was really tough for Melissa as she couldn’t see anyone due to strict social distancing rules.
For five months, the mom juggled between hospital and home. However, since the brave warrior returned home to his siblings, Xavier, 1, Kiya, 3, Phoebe, 4, Sophia, 8, on Sept. 13, the family couldn’t be happier.
“His return [home] was a long time coming. I was worried the other children were starting to wonder if he was real or not,” Melissa shared. “We’re just taking time to relax and not have to worry about things at last.”
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