When Francesca Bradley-Curran was born last April in England, she weighed just 1 pound, 6 ounces and her feet were the size of a penny.
The Daily Mail reports if the micro-preemie had been born just two days earlier, doctors probably would have left her to die. In England, babies born before the 24-week legal abortion limit are not considered viable and are often allowed to die.
Fortunately, doctors saw tiny Francesca’s life as one worth saving, and today she thriving at home with her family, according to the report.
“I didn’t think she would be here,” her mother, Victoria Bradley, said. “It’s scary to think if she had been just two days earlier, they wouldn’t have worked to save her.”
When Francesca was born, she was not expected to survive; she did not even take a breath until 11 minutes after birth, according to the report.
Her mother told the Mail the hospital staff gave her keepsakes to remember her daughter, including prints of Francesca’s tiny feet, because they thought she would not survive. The little girl’s feet were about the same size as a British penny, which is just a little bigger than an American penny.
“I thought she still looked like a foetus,” the Liverpool mom remembered. “Her skin was see-through, and she didn’t have eyelashes or eyebrows. Her eyes weren’t open yet. She was just tiny, and so poorly. We were told it was hour by hour with her, and they didn’t think she would survive. Her blood was full of infections.”
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Francesca spent 17 weeks in the hospital battling collapsed lungs, kidney problems, meningitis and sepsis, according to the report. She fought through each battle and “kept getting stronger each day,” Bradley said.
Her family said she no longer needs life-supporting medicine, wires or oxygen; Francesca is their “miracle” baby.
A few other British babies have been born before the viability mark and survived because doctors chose to provide life-saving care. Kalel Fitz was born after just 23 weeks in his mother’s womb, and doctors gave him a small chance of survival, according to The Daily Mail. His feet were so tiny that they measured just 1 inch long, and his weight was 1 pound, 8 ounces. He now is a toddler.
A study published in 2015 in the New England Journal of Medicine found that 23% of premature infants are surviving birth as early as 22 weeks. Yet, these babies could have been legally aborted for any reason in many states, as well as the UK. The study also found that some hospitals are not giving babies treatment at this early age, despite modern medical advancements that have pushed back the viability line from 24 weeks to about 22.