When Aaliyah Hart looks at the baby clothes she once wore, she can hardly imagine every being that small.
The 14-year-old British girl was born weighing just 12 ounces and measuring 7 inches – the smallest baby to ever survive outside the womb in England, the Metro reports.
Today, Aaliyah is a healthy, athletic 14-year-old who aspires to become an actress someday. Her mother, Lorraine, said her daughter’s life is a miracle.
“I had a lot of problems throughout the pregnancy, the amniotic fluid was slowly decreasing and doctors advised me to have an abortion,” Lorraine told the Metro. “I was determined to continue the pregnancy because I had struggled to conceive and was close to having IVF.”
Aaliyah was born three months prematurely and her lungs were severely underdeveloped. Doctors gave the tiny baby girl a 1-percent chance of surviving, her mother remembered.
Now a teenager, Aaliyah said her early struggles almost do not seem real.
“I was never aware of the fuss when I was born and it has never affected me,” she said. “It was a shock when I saw the clothes I used to wear as a baby. They look like they would be small enough to fit a doll.”
Today, the teen is healthy and strong. When she was 10, she was named captain of her school soccer team. Thinking about the future, Aaliyah said she hopes to become an actress after graduation.
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“We never thought she would get to this point,” her mother said. “She is a miracle baby.”
Thanks to modern medical advancements, more very premature babies like Aaliyah are surviving and thriving. Ariana Cruz-Gutierrez of Maryland and Emily Rose Hollins of Oklahoma are two examples. LifeNews reported both girls were born weighing 12 ounces, like Aaliyah, and both battled through a series of life-threatening medical problems. But both girls were deemed well enough to go home from the hospital this summer.
Life-saving medical advancements are helping more premature babies survive. A Duke University study published in January found babies born at just 23 weeks gestation are surviving outside the womb at a greater rate than ever before.
Researchers examined 4,500 babies between 2000 and 2011 and found a “small but significant drop in fatalities for babies born between 23 and 37 weeks gestation,” as well as a decrease in premature babies manifesting with neurophysiological problems, the Daily Mail reported.
Research published in 2015 in the New England Journal of Medicine also found that 23 percent of premature infants are surviving birth as early as 22 weeks.