A tiny premature baby has defied the odds and doctor’s expectations after surviving being born at 22 weeks and one day, and weighing less than 1lb.
Charvi Matthews arrived more than three months early and weighed just 14oz, which is less than a loaf of bread.
10% chance of survival
Her parents, Millisa Matthews and Daniel Golding, both 39, were told their daughter had little chance of surviving, but after months of specialist care she is defying all expectations.
Charvi was smaller than the size of her mother’s hand when she was born and her skin was so translucent, her parents could see “every vein”.
However, after several operations and more than 35 blood transfusions, the tiny baby fought to survive and is now able to breathe on her own and drink from a bottle.
Mum-of-four Millisa, from Greenwich, London, hopes to bring her newest arrival home in time for her first birthday and said that people should “never give up on 22-weekers”.
She said: "When Charvi was first born she could fit in one hand and you could see every vein in her body - it was scary how small she was.
“We were told she had about a 10 per cent chance of survival, but I was adamant we’d give her that chance.
“She’s really had to fight for her life and there were times where we were very worried, but now she’s getting stronger every day and has exceeded doctors expectations.
“There was no way I was going to give up on her, no matter how much the odds were stacked against her.”
Former retail worker Millisa and partner Daniel, a delivery driver, were expecting their fourth child to arrive on 24 February.
The proud parents found out their baby was a girl at the 20-week scan and just weeks later, Millisa was rushed to St Thomas Hospital with severe stomach pains.
Doctors revealed she had sepsis which had sent her into early labour on 26 October.
Millisa was told by medics “this baby has to come out, like, right this second”, and she was forced to have an emergency caesarean section on the same day.
She said: "When I saw my baby girl, I was scared by how small she was.
"When doctors told me her weight, I remember thinking she weighed less than the tub of butter sat in the fridge at home."
‘A terrifying time’
Charvi needed to be resuscitated before being whisked off to the NICU to be put on a ventilator because her lungs had not fully formed, and the family was told there was a 90 per cent chance she would die.
Over the next few months, Charvi had to undergo two major operations on her stomach, more than 35 blood transfusions and countless rounds of antibiotics.
Millisa described it as “a terrifying time” and was told by doctors that she was “prolonging the inevitable”.
But Charvi’s parents refused to give up on her and took it in turn to visit the NICU every day.
Two months after she was born, they were finally allowed to hold their daughter for the first time.
Charvi was transferred to the neonatal high dependency unit earlier this month and now weighs more than 6.5lbs, which is more than seven times her birth weight, and is able to breathe unassisted for up to three hours a day.
The tiny baby has exceeded all expectations, as doctors did not think she would survive the first 48 hours.
Millisa hopes that her baby’s survival will give hope to other parents who may find themselves in a similar situation.
She said: “Deep down, I always knew she'd make it, even when doctors told me I was just 'prolonging the inevitable' - and I want to share that message of hope to other families.
"I think people aren't hopeful for 22-weekers, and many of them sadly do pass away, but you should always give them the chance.
"I want other mothers to know that 22-weekers can survive, so don't give up hope.
"Miracles can and do happen - Charvi has proven that."