Everyone at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals would like to wish a happy first birthday to a very inspirational little girl, Stella.
Stella was our youngest ever premature baby to have been discharged from Royal Preston Hospital having been born 18 weeks early weighing just 480g on the Trust’s Neonetal Intensive Care Unit.
Born at just 22 weeks and 3 days, and weighing just 480g, Stella spent five months on the unit where she received specialist round the clock support from staff as well as parents, Jade and Stuart.
Six months prior to Stella’s birth, things were made a little different for neonatal units in the UK, with the implementation of a revised framework for managing the tiniest preterm babies – those born under 24 weeks gestation.
What the neonatal team had been planning quickly became a reality in June, when Stella’s mum, Jade Haigh, a Registered Nurse at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, gave birth to baby Stella.
Every year 15 million babies are born early, accounting for one in ten births worldwide.
Studies have shown that improvements in neonatal care are resulting in small but growing numbers of babies like Stella having a better chance of survival. While this is still slim at 22 weeks, it is not impossible. The studies show that, if offered active resuscitation, 3 in 10 babies born at 22 weeks may survive.
Neonatal Consultant Dr Richa Gupta, who cared for Stella and her family, said:
“Stella is a real little star. She was fragile, delicate and vulnerable. We had to adapt our approach to handling her less often, more carefully and adjusting everything we did to support her, whilst her own body systems gradually grew stronger and learnt to function.
“It was not an entirely smooth journey; there were many anxious days for the parents, but also lots of joyful milestones to be enjoyed. Mum Jade was at Stella’s side every single day, caring for her alongside the clinical team. That integral care was essential, especially through lockdown.
“All of the NICU team feel privileged to be part of Stella’s incredible start to life, and we wish her a wonderful and happy first birthday.”
Happy first birthday, Stella, from everyone at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals.