A premature baby born weighing just 1lb has defied the odds to reach her first birthday – despite being so small she was kept alive in a SANDWICH BAG.
Miracle tot Lucia Sansbury weighed less than half a bag of sugar when she was born more than three months early.
The tiny infant needed emergency treatment to repair her bowel and laser surgery to save her eye sight.
She was so tiny that medics had to improvise by placing her in clear plastic sandwich bag to keep her warm.
One year on, little Lucia has celebrated the first birthday that her doting parents Emma and Steve Sansbury feared she would never see.
The couple from Redruth, Cornwall, endured five failed IVF treatments and two miscarriages before Lucia arrived 13 weeks early.
Emma and Steve, both 39, were warned by medics that they might have to induce the birth to save her life.
And just 26 weeks into the “high risk” pregnancy Lucia was delivered at the Royal Cornwall Hospital under the supervision of renowned consultant Aylur Rajasri.
Emma said: “We all knew she would be small but I don’t think anyone expected her to be quite that small.
“Staff at Plymouth said she was the size of a 22-week gestation baby.”
Lucia had to have a damaged section of her bowel removed and a temporary stoma bag fitted while the bowel matured.
The tiny infant also underwent laser surgery on her eyes but was well enough to be discharged after five weeks.
Proud Emma and Steve celebrated Lucia’s first birthday last week with a party for family and friends.
The family also asked people to donate money to the Cots for Tots appeal, which buys specialist incubators, and Derriford Hospital in Plymouth.
It may be years before they know if Lucia is suffering from any long-term problems.
Emma said: “Lucia’s lungs are really good but we won’t know if there are any other problems for possibly years.
“Lucia is lovely and when your baby has had to fight just to survive, you are just glad you have them regardless of what problems may come.”
Mr Rajasri, a consultant in maternal and fetal medicine who specialises in high-risk pregnancies, said: “They were an incredible family to work with and they were very brave.
“I call Lucia my miracle baby. Their story really shows the difference we can make.”Medics realised that miracle baby Lucia Sansbury was too small while she was still in the womb because of a problem with mum Emma’s placenta.
Lucia was just over 1lb when she born in Plymouth’s Derriford Hospital, where she spent a further eight weeks battling for survival.
She was then transferred to St. Michael’s Hospital in Bristol to have sections of her gut removed because of a condition called Necrotizing enterocolitis, the second biggest killer in premature infants.
After having a temporary stoma bag fitted while her bowel matured and repaired itself Lucia underwent urgent laser surgery for her eyes
Because she was born so early her eyes weren’t ready for the sudden influx of oxygen and started developing quicker than her retinas could handle.
After a further stint in the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro Lucia was eventually allowed home after six months where she has continued to make progress with Emma and civil servant husband Steve.
Lucia is now 14lb and is large enough to wear clothes that would fit a three to six months old baby. She celebrated her first birthday on February 19.
Careers adviser Emma said: “I had to have an emergency caesarean. She would not have survived a normal birth. They kept her inside me as long as possible because every day helps.
“When she was born they basically said it was a 50/50 because she was so small. They needed to get a line into her to deliver the medicine and if that failed she would die.
“They wanted to see how she reacted when they got her out to see if she was a fighter and if she was they would do everything they could.
“She cried the moment she delivered, then she wriggled. It was only the tiniest little cry but she was making an incredible effort – we knew then and there she really was a fighter.”
During her pregnancy, Emma was closely monitored by (Mrs) Dr Aylur Rajasri, known as Raji, a consultant in maternal and fetal medicine at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust, who specialises in high-risk pregnancies.
Emma added: “We are just so grateful to all the medical staff who helped us. They were just so brilliant.
“There is no doubt Lucia would not have survived the pregnancy without what consultant Raji did.
“We had been trying for a baby for three years and this was out sixth IVF attempt.
“IVF is a roller-coaster and I certainly wouldn’t want to go through it all again. But when I look at Lucia is I see it that it was all worthwhile.
“She’s feisty and brave – a real little fighter. I’m so proud of her. Babies can be incredibly resilient things.”