A remarkable baby girl who beat all the odds when she was born 17 weeks premature has finally arrived home in time for Christmas.
Little miracle Ava-Rose Ramsbottom weighed just 1lb. 1oz. when she was born on June 15th in Burnley General Hospital – the tiniest baby to be delivered there.
Her twin brother Jude sadly died before he was born, and doctors gave Ava-Rose little chance of survival.
But proud parents Gary Ramsbottom and Katie Anforth praised the medical staff at Burnley’s specialist Lancashire Women and Newborn Centre for guiding them through a traumatic five months in which Ava-Rose was cared for on five different machines in the neo-natal intensive care unit.
Former St Hilda’s pupil Katie (31) said: “Gary and I truly believe Ava-Rose is a miracle. We believed we would be leaving hospital without either of our babies. The doctors warned us to take it hour by hour. All the odds were against her but she has proved she’s a real fighter.
“We feel so blessed, and to have her home for Christmas is just perfect. For a long time we had to watch Ava through a plastic box. We felt robbed because we couldn’t hold her but we are so lucky.”
Now home in Clarence Street, Ava-Rose’s progress has been remarkable and she is now a healthy 10lb. 4oz. although she does still require some oxygen.
It is a far cry from when she was born 23 weeks premature – a week short of the cut-off date for abortions.
Gary (28) said: “All the staff at the NICU unit were unbelievable, so kind and dedicated. It’s not just a job for them, it’s a vocation.
“We can’t thank the consultants and nurses enough for what they have done for us and if it wasn’t for this fantastic service we have right on our doorstep I dread to think what may have happened. They have given us our baby back.”
Katie, who herself was born premature, said her daughter’s remarkable story should give hope to mothers everywhere.
She added: “Although they have all the latest technology, the one thing hospitals can’t provide is a mother’s milk.
“The specialists said it was so important to help her develop, and even though it was given to her through a machine I was so pleased I could help her myself. I also had steroid injections during labour which aren’t normally given under 24 weeks. The specialists said they would now consider doing it again with other mothers.
“Ava-Rose is definitely our little miracle.”
We are now looking forward to spending Christmas with her.”
Anita Fleming, Head of Midwifery at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We’re really glad Ava was able to go home with her Mum and Dad after her stay in hospital. Ava is one of the smallest babies born at Burnley General Hospital and the expertise of our staff was essential to providing her with the exceptional care needed. The whole family will be missed but we wish them all the best for the future.”