A grandmother from West Yorkshire in the United Kingdom resuscitated her preemie granddaughter twice after she was born prematurely at home — and she is being hailed as a hero for her actions.
According to Somerset Live, Katie Dolan went into labor unexpectedly when she was just 24 weeks and five days pregnant and ended up giving birth at home with her mother, Joanne Dolan, present. Katie’s daughter, Niamh, was so eager to enter the world that Joanne ended up delivering her granddaughter — who was born breech — herself. Not only did Joanne deliver the tiny 1.5-pound girl, but she also had to perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on her twice.
Katie described the whole experience. “I woke up at midnight with an urge to go to the toilet. Then I started getting really strong contractions, and I remember shouting and calling for my mum,” she said. “She immediately called the ambulance and they stayed on the phone with us while my mum had to deliver Niamh. Within 15 minutes, Niamh had been delivered and was born breech. My mum had to resuscitate Niamh twice. I honestly don’t even remember much, I was in so much shock.”
Joanne said she acted on instinct during the harrowing experience. “I didn’t have any time to think, I was terrified but just acted as quickly as I could,” she said. “I was anxious and unsure if I had done it properly, but was on the phone to 999 and they explained how to do the CPR.”
Ambulances soon arrived to take mother and baby to the hospital. They had to “do all sorts to try and get Niamh breathing.” Katie said. “The staff managed to get her stable. It was absolutely terrifying.”
While doctors were working on little Niamh, Joanne spent five hours in the waiting room not knowing whether or not her granddaughter had survived. Doctors then decided to transfer Niamh to a different facility, but Katie was unable to go with her. “I wasn’t even allowed to go to [the specialist hospital] with her because you can’t travel 24 hours after giving birth – I was in so much pain and shock,” Katie explained. Both women were sent home and had to wait for a telephone call letting them know that Niamh had made it to the hospital and was stable.
Niamh now weighs over three pounds, but will likely need to remain hospitalized for some time before she’s able to join her family at home.
“It’s crazy – the medical staff called her a ‘medical miracle baby’ as they had never seen a baby born this early at home [who] survived,” Katie said.
It is possible for children born as young as 21 weeks to survive when given proper medical care. Not all hospitals, however, are equipped to care for a baby that young. The group TwentyTwoMatters created a global map of the hospitals that are willing and able to care for such premature babies.
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