When tiny ‘miracle’ Lola Baker was born, she weighed the same as a single bag of sugar.
New mum Caroline Sankey was just 26 weeks’ pregnant – a full three months before she was due – when she went into labour with Lola.
And when Lola arrived. weighing just 2lbs, 3oz, doctors rushed her to the neo-natal intensive care unit, where she was given oxygen to help keep her alive.
She spent nine weeks on a cocktail of oxygen treatments at the Royal Preston Hospital, before she was transferred to Blackpool Victoria Hospital, where she remained for a further five weeks. But she battled back, despite still needing extra oxygen all day when she was finally discharged to come home with her parents to Mereland Road, Marton.
That was until last week, when doctors said at nine-months-old her lungs were finally well enough to provide her with all the oxygen she needs.
And today Miss Sankey and her partner Scott Baker told of their relief that their little girl has come through the ordeal.
Miss Sankey, 24, said: “I didn’t get to hold her after she was born – they started working on her straight away, trying to give her oxygen, and then took her away for treatment.
“When I was in labour, the doctors told us there was a chance she wouldn’t survive the delivery – they said it wasn’t 100 per cent that she would come out alive.
“She was born at 9.15pm and I didn’t get to see her until 3.30am. It was a really emotional time, and I really thought she wasn’t going to make it. It was horrible.”
The cause of Lola’s early birth has not been diagnosed by doctors, but Miss Sankey said she believes she had an infection which brought the labour on.
“Everything was going fine in the pregnancy until July when I started having pains,” she said.
“I went into labour on August 3 and I had her the following day – exactly three months before her due date.
“I was in a ward with women who had their babies with them and I could hear the babies crying, which was heartbreaking.”
Miss Sankey, a shop worker, said it was just as bad going home without her baby after the birth.
“I felt so helpless,” she added. “I don’t know how she got through it – she’s our little miracle.”
Lola was allowed home on November 19 – two weeks after the day she should have been born.
Until the end of April, she was on oxygen all day and night, as her early birth had left her with chronic lung disease.
She was also born with two holes in the heart. Miss Sankey said one had healed on its own, but the other may have to be operated on to be fixed.
Miss Sankey said: “Long-term, the doctors say she might have asthma, and she might develop slower than other children her age, but she’s doing OK.
“We’ll have regular check-ups, but we’re so pleased that she is off the oxygen and doing well.”
She added: “Lola’s getting on really well now, like any other baby her age, interested in what’s happening around her.
“We’re really proud of her.”