This baby weighed just about 1 pound (approx. 454 grams) at birth and was given only a 20 percent chance of survival. The parents were devastated contemplating the fate that awaited their newborn.
When Aurla and Feargal Ward had their first baby, they thought that fate was playing a cruel game on them.
After being told that she was in labor, Aurla was rushed to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast, which specializes in delivery and care of premature babies. Baby Fianna was only 23 weeks and 4 days old at birth.
“Although she was very immature, they went ahead and tried to keep her alive. The next weeks were so hard because we didn’t dare think she might be OK. We were very pessimistic, we were waiting for her to die,” Aurla recalled in a report by Belfast Telegraph Digital.
“When you are in the neonatal unit the staff never tell you that your child will survive. When you are in there you can understand why—things can change so quickly,” Aurla shared.
Upon hearing that Fianna might need help, TinyLife, a charity that focuses on offering support to families who have extremely premature babies, extended their support to Aurla.
For Aurla, TinyLife was a great support. Every Tuesday, Helen from the organization would come in and offer support both practically and emotionally.
“Because of the risk of infection to Fianna only Feargal and I and our parents were allowed to see her. However, Helen the family support officer from TinyLife was there too as she was allowed on the unit,” Aurla said.
“It was great to have someone else there to talk to and to reassure us. She knew the things that were running through our minds and the right things to say. TinyLife was invaluable to us,” Aurla further shared.
With their intervention, Fianna was able to continue in the hospital. She spent more than 125 days in expert care and had to undergo a mind-numbing 19 blood transfusions!
Fianna means Celtic warrior huntress, and indeed she has lived up to her name, defying all odds.
Fianna is now doing very well and is growing up just like the other kids. “Fianna should have been two on April 24 , but she is doing brilliantly. Even the consultants think she is a miracle,” said Aurla.
The child had a mild hearing problem because of her premature birth. But it was resolved with the use of hearing aids. Similarly, an issue with eyesight has been overcome using glasses. In fact, on all other counts, baby Fianna is all set to grow up into a healthy young lady.
It is estimated that out of 60,000 babies born every year in the United Kingdom, one child is born prematurely. And the chances of survival for babies born before 24 weeks is very low.
As such, for Fianna to have survived despite being born in just the 23rd week of her mother’s pregnancy is truly a miracle!
In 2016, Aurla shared that the little girl had started to make friends and was catching up. “She’s doing well and keeps us busy,” Aurla told BelfastLive. “She’s a wee monkey.”
Now a 4-year-old, Fianna has managed to defy all odds and is a happy child.