Baby Hannah Stibbles arrived three-and-a-half months before her due date, at 25 weeks, by emergency C-section. Hannah is so small that her foot is no bigger than a thumb.
Mother Ellie Paton, 17, and partner Brandon Stibbles, 21, had been warned Hannah only had a 20 percent chance of surviving after a 22-week scan showed she was the size of a 16-week fetus.
However, the baby was born strong enough to breathe by herself. She is now slowly gaining weight and getting stronger.
Her parents, who have been together for nearly 18 months, said she is “the best thing to ever happen to them”.
Though she is in an incubator, with bubble wrap to keep her warm, Ms Paton was allowed to hold Hannah briefly while Mr Stibbles has changed her nappy.
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He said the baby grabbed his finger in a white-knuckle fist, adding: “She has bubble wrap on her, it keeps the heat in but she tends to kick it away.
“Everybody says she’s very sassy, she’s very active.”
Ms Paton said: “We are allowed to put our hands in the incubator, I have held her once – she sleeps on a thing called ‘the nest’.
“When the nurse changed it I got to hold her up. It will be pretty soon we’re able to hold her.”
The only way to cure pre-eclampsia is by delivering the baby and, while this is usually at full term, in severe cases it can be earlier – as was the case for Ms Paton.
The teenage mother said her pregnancy was “scary all the time” and she had to be treated in hospital for two days as her blood pressure was too high.
The morning after being sent home, she woke up to unbearable stomach and chest pains.
Hours later, Hannah was born as, it is thought, the smallest baby to survive in the UK in the past 19 years.
Her father said: “The high up doctors were coming into the neonatal unit and saying ‘babies this size just don’t survive’.
“We were told she had a 20 percent chance of survival, that she could need resuscitating, or be stillborn but when she came out she was breathing, she’s practically breathing on her own.
“We are hoping things stay the way she is, putting on weight and feeding well.”
Thanking health and care staff, he added: “All the people who we have dealt with since Ellie went into the maternity ward have been absolutely brilliant.
“Our whole life has just changed.”