Hannah Stibbles is a fighter.
On Dec. 30, she was born weighing just 11 ounces (325g) at a hospital in Glasgow, Scotland, and doctors thought she would not survive, the Daily Record reports.
But now her doctors and young parents, Ellie Paton, 17, and Brandon Stibbles, 21, of Newmilns, Ayrshire, believe Hannah has a fighting chance because she is breathing on her own and gaining weight, according to the report.
“We are hoping things stay the way she is, putting on weight and feeding well,” Stibbles said. “It’s not been easy but we’ve got a really strong support system, Ellie’s family have been an amazing support.”
Hannah is believed to be the smallest premature baby to survive in the United Kingdom, beating previous record-holder Aaliyah Hart, who was born in 2003 weighing just under 12 ounces, the Daily Mail reports.
She arrived about 15 weeks early after her mother began suffering severe pain. Paton said her doctors diagnosed her with preeclampsia, which can be fatal, and performed an emergency cesarean section to save her life.
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However, the doctors warned Paton that her daughter probably would not survive because she was so premature.
“They prepared us completely for the worst, telling us they would need to resuscitate her and then said they would focus on making sure Ellie was ok,” Stibbles told the Daily Record. “There were five doctors in the room and all of them were telling us [Hannah] would very likely die. They said she only had a 20 percent chance of survival because she was so small.”
But when Hannah was born, she was breathing on her own.
“As soon as she was born, they took her to NICU but she didn’t need to be resuscitated so that gave us hope straight away. We knew she was a fighter,” Paton said.
Two weeks later, her parents said she is not showing signs of major health problems, but she likely will spend several months in the hospital.
“We are so proud of her. She came out fighting for her life and proved everyone wrong. She is a wee smasher,” Paton told the Daily Record.
“We are loving it. It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to us,” Stibbles added. “Ellie got to hold her and I got to change her nappy. When I took my hand away from changing her nappy, she grabbed it.”
They praised the medical team at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Glasgow for taking good care of their daughter.
More premature babies are surviving and thriving thanks to modern medicine. In November, Guinness World Records recognized an Alabama boy who was born at 21 weeks gestation as the youngest premature baby to survive. Curtis Means was born weighing 14.8 ounces at 21 weeks and one day in July 2020.