Baby Born at 23 Weeks and Given Just 3% Chance of Surviving May Go Home Soon

International   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Jun 26, 2020   |   6:44PM   |   London, England

A tiny premature baby born in the midst of the coronavirus shutdowns may go home next month after overcoming multiple life-threatening complications.

The Mirror reports Oliver-Cash Lowther-Ryan, of Kent, England, was born after just 23 weeks in the womb. Weighing a little more than 1 pound, Oliver was given a 3% chance of survival.

His mother, Frances, said she suffered from pregnancy complications and was admitted to the hospital at 22 weeks of pregnancy. A few days later, on March 26, Oliver was born, according to the report.

“Whilst I was in labour a doctor told me that he only had a three percent chance of survival,” she said.

Oliver’s father, Ethan, said he was born breach and he looked so small, but, when he gave a little cry, everyone began to hope.

At first, Oliver seemed to do well. But two weeks later, the family said his condition deteriorated rapidly, and doctors told them to prepare for the worst. They said Oliver needed surgery on his bowels, and his chances of survival were slim.

He did survive, but the problems continued. In total, Oliver overcame two perforated bowel operations, 11 blood transfusions, two bleeds on the lungs, one bleed on the brain, three collapsed lung problems and heart problems, according to the report.

One of the hardest things for Ethan and Frances was that they could not even hold their son for the first nine weeks.

“It was so, so difficult not being able to hold him but the moment I was allowed was the most incredible moment of my life. Words can’t really describe it. It was just amazing to be able to touch and hold after so long,” Frances said. “The emotions I felt were so overwhelming. I felt like crying but I was also completely overjoyed.”

Because of the coronavirus restrictions, his parents could not visit him together. Ethan said Frances held him first, and then he went the next time.

“I bought a new shirt so that I could easily put him on my chest to do skin to skin and it was an emotional moment. … the wave of love for him I felt at that moment was amazing,” he said.

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Oliver still is in St. Thomas’ Hospital in London, but his condition has improved greatly. If he continues to progress, he may be well enough to go home in July, according to The Christian Institute.

“He is an amazing fighter and he’s got the nickname of Rocky because he won’t stay down,” his father said. “We’re so proud of him to have come through all the challenges he has faced so far.”

Modern medical advances are enabling younger and smaller premature babies to survive and thrive. The smallest recorded surviving baby weighed less than 9 ounces at birth. Born in California in December 2018, baby Saybie was deemed well enough to go home in May.

The youngest recorded premature baby is Jemarius Jachin Harbor Jr. The Georgia infant was born at 21 weeks, zero days gestation in December – beating the previous record-holder by four days.

Last year, the British Association of Medicine issued new guidelines encouraging medical treatment for babies born at 22 weeks of pregnancy. Previously, the guidelines did not recommend treatment until 24 weeks. Recent studies in the New England Journal of Medicine have found that a growing percent of premature infants are surviving at 22 weeks of pregnancy.

However, abortions are still legal for any reason up to 24 weeks in England and many states in America.