Parents of UK’s smallest premature baby born weighing just 325g finally able to hold her

Newborn girl’s parents were initially told ‘babies that small don’t survive’

Aisha Rimi
Tuesday 15 February 2022 17:08 GMT
<p>Hannah now weighs 547g and will go home when strong enough </p>

Hannah now weighs 547g and will go home when strong enough

The parents of Britain’s smallest premature baby have finally been able to hold her after the six-week-old was born at 25 weeks.

Hannah Stibbles was born on 30 December last year via C-section and weighed just 325g (11oz) at birth.

Doctors initially gave her only a 20 per cent chance of survival, warning her parents that “babies that small don’t survive”, but baby Hannah put up a good fight and is now strong enough to breathe by herself.

Her parents, Ellie Paton, 17, and Brandon Stibbles, 21, have now been able to hold their daughter, who has been staying at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow since she was born. She’ll remain in the hospital until she’s big enough to go home.

Brandon Stibbles and Ellie Paton

Now weighing 547g, Hannah has opened her eyes and her parents have been able to feed her through a tube. However, one of her lungs has collapsed meaning she needs osulation and a nebuliser.

When visiting, the couple read her stories and watch as she responds to recognising their voices.

Mr Stibbles said: “We have both got to hold her a couple of times. It’s a completely different feeling – you can either pick her up from the incubator or they can bring her over.

“We prefer that, she’s really really small. Her eyes have opened and she’s pretty aware now. She was waving at us, and we wave back. We are there all day, every day.”

The newborn is yet to meet any of her relatives

Ms Paton added: “It’s not just good for her, it’s good for us as well. We get to change her nappies quite often as well now. Because she’s got chronic lung disease there’s a really high chance she will need oxygen when she’s discharged. She’s done amazingly well.”

The young couple is now counting down the days until Hannah can be transferred to Crosshouse Hospital, Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, which is closer to home.

Medics initially told them that the earliest their baby could leave the hospital was in April when Hannah was actually due.

Mr Stibbles added: “She definitely recognises our voices when we speak to her. She starts waving her hands. She gets dead relaxed when we hold her, Hannah absolutely loves skin to skin contact. The best her numbers have been is when she has cuddles.

“We got to hold her for about three and a half hours. Her numbers were the best they’ve ever been. We are spending all day every day with Hannah and haven’t seen our families. We are more bothered by being by Hannah all the time.”

They’ve been met with support from strangers, with one good samaritan setting up a fundraising page to help them out financially. Mr Stibbles and Ms Paton currently have to do their laundry at a petrol station and face costs for staying in a hotel. So far £320 has been raised of a £1,000 target.

The newborn still hasn’t met any of her other relatives yet and her parents are yet to return home to Ayrshire.

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