Human Interest

Baby born at 23 weeks heads home with her family: ‘It’s a miracle that she survived’

preemie, premature, abortion survivor, born alive

A baby born at just 23 weeks and weighing 535 grams at birth has finally gone home with her parents.

When little Isla was born on March 4, her parents Lauren Ormston and Oliver Dewey were told that she had just a 10% chance of survival.

“I was given the all clear on my 20-week scan, so you can imagine my surprise when I was giving birth just three weeks later,” Lauren said.

When Lauren realized she was in labor, she headed to the hospital, where medics told her that there was a high likelihood that her baby wouldn’t make it. ”They suggested getting transferred to a bigger hospital which would increase the chance [of survival] to 30%,” she explained. ”It was terrifying. But I had to take the chance, and I’m so glad I did.”

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She made the move to a different hospital, where Isla was born.

“I could only cuddle Isla for six minutes before she was taken to a ventilator,” Lauren said. “She looked so small and fragile like she would snap at the slightest bit of movement.”

Isla’s parents say that her first weeks were precarious. “Her skin was transparent, I could see every little vein within her body,” Lauren said. “I lived each day, never knowing if she would make it, day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute. After six weeks, she came off the ventilator but needed an oxygen mask over her face. We had our first cuddle, and her little hand was barely the size of the tip of my husband’s pinky finger!”

One of the complications Isla faced early on was an eye operation which unfortunately was unsuccessful, leaving her blind in one eye. “Out of everything that Isla battled to just be alive, losing an eye isn’t the worse that could’ve happened. Isla’s right eye is still functional and can move, but the detachment of the retina means that Isla has lost all vision,” Lauren said.

On July 12, after five months in the hospital, Isla was able to go home with her parents, weighing a healthy 10 pounds 8 ounces. “I was so worried, but I knew my baby girl was a fighter,” Lauren said of Isla’s time in the hospital. “It’s a miracle that she survived.”

”She was so tiny when she was born, it felt like she’d never make it, but to see her now is like a miracle. Isla is a bundle of joy, and we couldn’t be happier with the little girl we have now.”

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