Premature baby believed to be UK's smallest in 20 years born weighing 11oz

·5-min read

Watch: Teenage mum gives birth to newborn believed to be the UK's smallest premature baby

A teenage mum has given birth to a girl believed to be the UK's smallest premature baby to survive in 19 years.

Ellie Paton, 17, from Newmilns, Ayrshire, delivered her baby by emergency caesarean on December 30 when she was 25 weeks pregnant and was warned her daughter might not survive.

Baby Hannah, who weighed just 325g (11oz) at birth, less than a can of Campbell's tomato soup, is thought to be the smallest baby to survive in the UK in the past 19 years, having only been given a 20% chance of pulling through by doctors.

Doctors were concerned her tiny size could mean she wouldn't survive, but the newborn was strong enough to breath by herself.

Read more: Meet the 'Bubble Wrap Baby' who weighed less than a pound

Hannah, who weighed just 11oz at birth, is thought to be the smallest baby to survive in the UK in the past 19 years. (SWNS)
Hannah, who weighed just 11oz at birth, is thought to be the smallest baby to survive in the UK in the past 19 years. (SWNS)

At her 22 week scan Paton and her partner Brandon Stibbles, 21, were warned that their baby was only measuring the size of a 16-week foetus, and the mum-to-be was also diagnosed with pre-eclampsia. 

"It was just scary all the time," Paton explains. 

"I had gone in just for a scan and ended up with high blood pressure, they sent me to Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) in Glasgow and I was there for two days while my blood pressure sorted itself out."

Stibbles explains that the 22 week scan was the first time the couple had any idea that anything might be wrong.

"The lady said to us 'you've got quite a small baby'," he explains. 

"At 22 weeks she was the size of 16 weeks.

"It was quite terrifying."

Hannah was born on December 30 by emergency C-section, after her parents were warned she may not survive. (SWNS)
Hannah was born on December 30 by emergency C-section, after her parents were warned she may not survive. (SWNS)

On December 29, at 25 weeks pregnant, Paton woke up with excruciating stomach and chest pains and was rushed to Crosshouse Hospital.

She was later sent to QEUH where Hannah was born by emergency C-section just after 1am on December 30.

"We were told she had a 20% 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," Stibbles explains. 

"The doctors were coming into the neonatal unit and saying 'babies this size just don't survive'," he continues.

"Not at 25 weeks into pregnancy - babies should be 500g or more, Hannah was 325g."

After her birth Hannah was given bubble wrap to keep her warm as it is lighter than a blanket but is always kicking it off in her incubator.

Read more: Baby born smaller than dad's hand and given 10% chance of survival, finally makes it home

Baby Hannah's tiny nappy and footprint. (SWNS)
Baby Hannah's tiny nappy and footprint. (SWNS)

Since welcoming their baby daughter Paton has got to hold Hannah briefly once, while Stibbles got to change the newborn's nappy. 

"We are allowed to put our hands in the incubator," Paton explains. 

"I have held her once. She sleeps on a thing called 'the nest' and when the nurse changed it I got to hold her up.

"It will be pretty soon we're able to hold her."

Watch: Alabama boy born at 21 weeks is world’s most premature baby to survive

For the time being the couple are staying at a Travelodge near the hospital Hannah remains, but the couple are hoping she might be moved to Crosshouse Hospital nearer their home when she reaches a weight of 500g.

Though she has gained 25g since her birth, baby Hannah may not be able to come home until her due date on April 13. 

Read more: Premature twins born with coronavirus are allowed home

Hannah's parents say she is the best thing that has ever happened to them. (SWNS)
Hannah's parents say she is the best thing that has ever happened to them. (SWNS)

In the meantime the couple, who have been together for 18 months, are relishing spending every moment they can with their new daughter. 

"We are loving it," Stibbles says. 

"It's the best thing that's ever happened to us."

Despite doctors warning baby Hannah might not survive, the couple are thrilled their daughter is defying the odds. 

"If anything she has excelled on the outside," Stibbles adds. 

"We are hoping she stays the way she is, putting on weight and feeding well.

"It's not been easy but we've got a really strong support system, Ellie's family have been an amazing support.

"We are both just really eager to be back in our own environment."

Hannah Stibbles was born at 25 weeks weighing 325g (11oz). (SWNS)
Hannah Stibbles was born at 25 weeks weighing 325g (11oz). (SWNS)

The couple are also full of praise for staff at the maternity unit in the QEUH. 

"All the people who we have dealt with since Ellie went into the maternity ward have been absolutely brilliant," Stibbles says. 

"Our whole life has just changed."

The UK's smallest baby before Hannah is believed to be Aaliyah Hart who was born weighing 12oz in 2003.

“Bliss estimates that around 60,000 babies are born prematurely in the UK every year (before 37 weeks of pregnancy)," Caroline Lee-Davey, chief executive of charity Bliss.  

"Most of these babies are born later preterm, however in 2016, 1,189 babies were born before 25 weeks. Neonatal mortality rates for babies born premature have declined since the 1980s, however around 1,500 babies born early still die each year.

“It’s important to remember that every baby is different and will develop differently after their birth - we’re so thrilled to hear that Hannah is doing well and thriving.”

For more information and support for parents of babies born premature and sick visit https://www.bliss.org.uk/

Additional reporting SWNS.

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