Premature Baby Was So Small She Was Just the Length of a Pen, Now She’s a Healthy 5-Year-Old

International   |   Conor Beck   |   Apr 1, 2016   |   9:58AM   |   Adelaide, Australia

A 5-year-old girl who weighed less than a baby’s bottle at birth is now living a healthy, typical life, and is showing how important it is to fight for vulnerable premature babies.

Lily Cobbing and her twin sister, Summer, were born at just 27 weeks in June 2010 in Adelaide, Australia. Though both were premature, Lily was so underdeveloped that she weighed less than a pound at birth and was as long as a ball point pen, according to the Daily Mail.

Before the twins were born, their mother, Michelle Roberts-Cobbing, was receiving daily ultrasounds, but one day was surprised to hear her doctor say, “The babies were coming today.” Her doctors knew Lily was not doing well and a C-section needed to be performed, according to the report.

“They monitor it all so closely – if Lily had passed away in the womb, Summer would have had a stroke and died as well,” Roberts-Cobbing said.

Though Lily was very tiny at birth and her chances of survival were slim, it quickly became apparent that she was going to fight for her life.

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“When they were pulling Lily out, she grabbed onto the doctor’s glove and it snapped back on his hand, and he said that’s a good sign – she’s a fighter,” her mother recalled.

When they were born, the girls were immediately put on ventilators and taken to the hospital’s intensive care unit for premature babies. Lily was able to come home from the hospital after eight months, and her sister went home after three, the report states.

The sisters’ survival story is becoming more common as modern medical advancements are able to save babies earlier and earlier. A 2015 study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that 23 percent of infants survived at just 22 weeks gestation, and their chances of survival increased rapidly with each week. The study looked at the survival and outcomes of almost 5,000 babies born before 27 weeks gestation at 24 hospitals from 2006 -2011. However, some babies are not given a chance to survive. The study also found that some hospitals were deliberately denying these very premature babies life-saving medical treatment.

Though the full effects of Lily’s premature birth are not fully known yet, her mother does know that she is doing much better than expected, calling her survival “a miracle.”

Roberts-Cobbing said of her twins, “Summer is dramatic and Lily is very laid back and goes with the flow. They love all the little girlie things and Lily loves Star Wars and Chewbacca.”

“We’re just so proud of them,” she added.