Human Interest

Premature baby born at 23 weeks thriving after 111 days in hospital

second trimester, abortion, premature

Peadar O’Boyle of Drogheda, Ireland, spent his first 111 days after his premature birth in the hospital. Born at just 23 weeks and six days gestation and weighing only one pound, six ounces, Peadar had to be ventilated as soon as he was born and remained on the ventilator for five weeks. He also suffered meningitis, bleeds on his brain and hydrocephalus, and was given only a 40% chance of survival.

Peadar’s mother, Ruth Levins, was told while pregnant with her older son, Malachy, that reaching 24 weeks gestation was a big milestone because babies could often survive outside of the womb at that time. Today, babies born as young as 21 weeks have survived. While pregnant with Peadar, Ruth suffered a high fever caused by a urinary tract infection, inducing premature labor just one day before hitting that 24-week milestone. After an emergency C-section, “Peadar has had to fight from the first minute he was born,” said his mother.

She shared, “When I look back on those first few days and weeks, I feel like I was looking at a film, a horror film of something bad that happened to somebody else.” She continued, “You are supposed to be happy and holding and cuddling your baby and instead you are looking through an incubator with tubes and monitors and you are afraid to nearly touch him because he was born so prematurely, and his skin was so thin.”

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Peadar’s first Christmas was spent in the hospital. Ruth recalled, “We had to take each hour as it came. We didn’t know if he would survive or what type of life he could expect.”

For his first birthday at the end of March, Peadar’s family had a large celebration, and he was able to be at home for Mother’s Day. Aiden, Peadar’s father said, “He has continued to grow and to show his personality, as babies do. He has a big smile and a strong personality.”

The extremely premature birth resulted in some health concerns for Peadar, which require occupational therapy and physiotherapy. Ruth said the therapists at the Central Remedial Clinic are helping Peadar “to do so many of the things every parent wants their baby to do.” She added, “Peadar’s personality is coming through and he is always full of smiles, but he is also determined when the therapists give him a challenge.”

“He goes at his pace but like all babies there is an inbuilt need to explore and learn about the world. He is now sitting independently and saying his first words. He loves story time, especially books that have a flap to pull up,” she explained.

“Looking back there were so many things said to us about Peadar, and he has proven a lot of doctors wrong so far,” Ruth said. He has continually “proven he is a warrior and a superhero.”

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