Premature baby born just 3 days before abortion limit defies chance of survival

Premature baby born just 3 days before abortion limit defies chance of survival

British baby Elsie Dutton weighed just 1 pound when she was born prematurely in December.

The little girl survived, her twin sister did, and doctors initially warned Elsie’s parents that she too could die, according to the Daily Mail. But after being in the hospital for five months, Elsie’s parents said she is now home and doing well.

“I almost didn’t think it was real; the day felt like a dream come true,” said Barnsley’s mother, Amy Dutton. “I’ve never felt such relief as when we had to leave the hospital and take her home.”

Elsie was born at 23 weeks, four days gestation, weighing 1 pound, 2 ounces, after her mother gave birth prematurely, according to the report. Her twin sister Dotty did not survive.

Since the girls were not yet 24 weeks old (the legal abortion limit in England), Amy Dutton said Dotty was described as having a miscarriage, not a stillbirth.

Premature baby born with her intestines outside her body defies odds to survive

“It was very hard to lose Dotty. Since it was before 24 weeks that I could never register her as stillborn, she was classified as having a miscarriage,” she said. “That also meant I couldn’t put on Elsie’s birth certificate that she was twins. If I could have had that on paper, I would have ended after going through something so difficult.”

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The difficulties remained for the family.

According to the report, Elsie was immediately placed in an incubator, and her parents could not hold her outside the womb for the first month.

“I held her for about 30 seconds when she… [was] was born, and then she went straight into the incubator for a month,” said Amy Dutton. “Having to wait that long to hold her was hard, so when I finally did, it meant so much.”

When she got to hold Elsie, the effects of the mother-child bond were apparent.

“I held her and could see on all the monitors that her heartbeat was relaxing. It felt so special,” she continued.

Here’s more from the report:

Dr. Sijo Francis, St. George’s [Hospital in London] clinical director of pediatric services, said kangaroo care makes a huge difference for premature babies like Elsie.

“When babies like Elsie are born prematurely, clinical intervention is essential, but parental involvement also has a hugely positive effect,” he said.

“When mothers hold their babies in their arms for a long time, such as with kangaroo care, the stress for both mother and baby is reduced, and we see better results in the short and long term.”

After four months in St. George’s, Elsie grew well enough to go home. Her parents said that she has survived many setbacks and that her health is improving daily.

“Right now, she’s still on oxygen, but every time we go to a doctor, they’ll reduce the amount she needs, and she’ll be off it pretty quickly,” her mother said.

More premature babies are surviving and thriving thanks to modern medicine. In November, Guinness World Records recognized an Alabama boy born at 21 weeks as the youngest preterm baby to survive. Curtis Means was born weighing 14.8 grams at 21 weeks and one day in July 2020. In 2017, Pediatrics magazine featured the story of another girl who survived after being born at 21 weeks and four days gestation.