One of Britain’s most premature babies has defied the odds after surviving being born at 22 WEEKS weighing just 1lb 4oz.
Little Austin Douglas weighed the same as half a bag of sugar when he arrived 18 weeks early on March 31.
Doctors told parents Helen, 30 and Rhys, 25, there was very little chance their son would survive after he was born smaller than his mother’s palm.
Austin’s skin was so thin his organs were visible and the holes in his ears had not yet formed.
But following weeks of specialist care at Birmingham Children’s Hospital the battling tot is now recovering well and set to go home on his original due date next month.
Helen has now described Austin is a “miracle twice over” after she was previously told she would never be able to have children.
Yesterday (Mon) Helen, of Leicester, said: “He’s been fighting since day one.
“We were asked if we wanted medical assistance for him, given how premature he was.
“I told doctors that if he came out breathing, I wanted them to do everything they could and they did.”
Helen was rushed to Leicester General Hospital when she got severe stomach pains and heavy bleeding just over half way through her pregnancy.
Doctors told her she was fully dilated and there was nothing to do to stop the birth.
Helen, a catering assistant, added: “He was translucent and we could see his organs through his skin.
“His ears hadn’t fully developed and neither had his lungs.
“The medical staff whisked him away and put him in an incubator while they worked on him beside my bed.
“It was terrifying but I knew he needed intervention.”
Tiny Austin was whisked straight into an incubator before being taken to Birmingham Heartlands Hospital, where he received care for seven weeks.
He has just been moved to Leicester Royal Infirmary, where he remains and is doing well.
Doctors warned his devastated family it was touch-and-go after the tiny baby twice contracted a lung infection – but he pulled through.
His proud parents are determined to bring their newborn home on July 28, his original due date, as he continues to battle against the odds.
She added: “He has grown a lot, I have to hold him with two hands now and he is bigger than my husband’s hand.
“His heart beat is strong and breathing on his own gets better and longer every day.
“We have to take each day at a time but I’ve never prayed so much in my life since he came into the world.”
Helen has Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) which affects how her ovaries work, and she was told she may never have children.
She added: “I was told years ago that I would probably have an early menopause and children were off the agenda, so Austin has been a little miracle from the very beginning.
“He is a miracle twice over.
“When I found out I was pregnant, I was ecstatic.
“I love him so much and I’m so grateful for all the care he’s had.”
Jonathan Cusack, consultant neonatologist at Leicester’s Hospitals said: “We are pleased with how well Austin is doing at present given how premature he was at birth – he has clearly shown he is a fighter.
“However he remains on a lot of support and still has a long way to go.”