A preemie born at just 31 weeks is doing well after doctors told her parents to say goodbye amid fears she wouldn’t make it. And amazingly, she’s following right in the steps of her big sister, who was also born at 31 weeks four years ago… and at the exact same weight.
Gemma Townsend gave birth to daughter Sienna in 2019. At birth, Sienna weighed 3 pounds, 1 ounce, and when she was discharged from the hospital, she was placed in doll clothes because nothing else fit. In June of 2022, Gemma welcomed her second daughter, Amelia, who was born at exactly the same age and even weighing the same at birth as big sister Sienna.
“Both were born early at exactly 31 weeks and three days and 3lbs 1oz each – which is really weird,” Gemma said.
As a preemie, Amelia experienced some complications early on, including a collapsed lung. Doctors told Gemma and her husband Jamie to prepare themselves, because the little girl might not pull through.
“They said, ‘You need to come in and say goodbye,'” Gemma said. “We were told she was dying. I couldn’t believe she made it.”
The medical team was able to stabilize Amelia and get her to another, more specialized hospital. Still, things were touch and go. “She became really distorted. Her head was massive,” Gemma explained. “She was really uncomfortable looking. We were told to prepare for the worst.”
Doctors placed Amelia in a medically induced coma in an effort to get her lungs working properly. Thankfully, after seven days, her lungs and heart were functioning better, and doctors were able to wake her up. “We couldn’t believe it,” said Gemma.
Amelia continued to improve, and she was able to leave the hospital and go home with her family in August 2022.
“She’s so fierce. She has incredible strength. She’s determined – that’s what got her through,” Gemma said of her daughter. She also told Gloucestershire Live that both Amelia and big sister Sienna relied on donor milk during their respective times in the hospital, for which she is thankful.