One Of Britain's 'Most Premature Babies' Defies Odds After Being Born At 22 Weeks: 'He Is A Miracle'

'He’s been fighting since day one.' 💕

One of the most premature babies to be born in Britain has defied the odds by surviving being born at 22 weeks, weighing just 1lb 4oz.

Austin Douglas weighed the same as half a bag of sugar when he arrived 18 weeks early on 31 March.

Doctors told Austin’s parents Helen, 30, and Rhys, 25, there was “very little” chance their son would survive after he was born smaller than his mother’s palm.

But following weeks of specialist care at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, he is recovering well and set to go home on his original due date next month.

“He is a miracle twice over,” said mum, Helen. “I love him so much and I’m so grateful for all the care he’s had.”

Mum, Helen, holding her son Austin.
Mum, Helen, holding her son Austin.

Helen, from Leicester, said: “He’s been fighting since day one.

“We were asked if we wanted medical assistance for him, given how premature he was.

“I told doctors that if he came out breathing, I wanted them to do everything they could and they did.”

Austin Douglas weighed just 1lb 4oz when he was born.
Austin Douglas weighed just 1lb 4oz when he was born.

Helen was rushed to Leicester General Hospital when she got severe stomach pains and heavy bleeding just over half way through her pregnancy.

Doctors told her she was fully dilated and there was nothing to do to stop the birth.

The mum said: “He was translucent and we could see his organs through his skin. His ears hadn’t fully developed and neither had his lungs.

“The medical staff whisked him away and put him in an incubator while they worked on him beside my bed.

“It was terrifying but I knew he needed intervention.”

Austin was whisked straight into an incubator before being taken to Birmingham Heartlands Hospital, where he received care for seven weeks.

He has now been moved to Leicester Royal Infirmary, where he remains and is “doing well”. Doctors previously warned his family it was “touch-and-go” after Austin contracted a lung infection - but he pulled through.

His parents are determined to bring their newborn home on 28 July, his original due date, as he continues to battle against the odds.

Helen added: “He has grown a lot, I have to hold him with two hands now and he is bigger than my husband’s hand.

“His heartbeat is strong and breathing on his own gets better and longer every day.

“We have to take each day at a time but I’ve never prayed so much in my life since he came into the world.”

Dad, Rhys, holding his son Austin. 
Dad, Rhys, holding his son Austin. 

Helen has Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) which affects how her ovaries work, and was told she may never have children.

She added: “I was told years ago that I would probably have an early menopause and children were off the agenda, so Austin has been a little miracle from the very beginning.”

Jonathan Cusack, consultant neonatologist at Leicester’s Hospitals said: “We are pleased with how well Austin is doing at present given how premature he was at birth - he has clearly shown he is a fighter.

“However he remains on a lot of support and still has a long way to go.”

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