Baby who was the size of a tennis ball at birth wins her amazing battle for life Baby who was the size of a tennis ball at birth wins her amazing battle for life
For two months, medics had been telling Hannah Wicks that her baby daughter would not survive. Poppy, born at 25 weeks on March 9,... Baby who was the size of a tennis ball at birth wins her amazing battle for life

For two months, medics had been telling Hannah Wicks that her baby daughter would not survive.

Poppy, born at 25 weeks on March 9, weighing 12.7oz, was so small that with her arms and legs curled up she looked like a 7cm tennis ball.

Thinking she had little choice but to prepare for the worst, Hannah bought a tiny rabbit toy so her little girl would never be alone, even in her coffin.

She says: “She was around 14cm when she was born but she looked so tiny in her incubator when her arms and legs were all curled up, we compared her to a tennis ball. That’s how small she looked.”

Poppy Wicks minutes after she was born (Image: Rowan Griffiths/Daily Mirror)
Poppy Wicks pictured with mum Hannah and dad Steve on the maternity ward at Southmead hospital (Image: Rowan Griffiths/Daily Mirror)

But now, that toy bunny sits in Poppy’s cot after she won her incredible battle for life .

She is one of the smallest babies to survive and at four months old she weighs in at 4lb 5oz against the average 7lb 5oz for a newborn.

Hannah says: “Poppy really is our miracle baby – she’s just fought and fought and fought against all the odds.

“But she’s made it. We’ve never given up hope but we always prepared for the worst – that Poppy would not survive.

“She was the size of a tennis ball when she was born. But now she is at home and will soon be off her oxygen aid. We still can’t believe it.”

Poppy with her bunny when she was a tiny baby (Image: Daily Mirror)
Poppy was the size of a tennis ball when she was born (Image: Rowan Griffiths/Daily Mirror)

Poppy’s struggle was documented in photos at every step. And while the road ahead of her is long, her future finally looks bright.

It is something Hannah, 31, and partner Steve McSween can still barely comprehend.

From 18 weeks into the pregnancy, Hannah – also mum to Oliver, five – was warned her baby would not live.

She says: “All along we were told, ‘She’s not going to be alive at the next scan’.

Poppy with dad Steve on the maternity ward (Image: Rowan Griffiths/Daily Mirror)
Poppy Wicks in the intensive care unit on the maternity ward at Southmead hospital (Image: Rowan Griffiths/Daily Mirror)

“I remember one day we were told she wasn’t growing and we were taken into a small room. I knew it was bad news because there was a box of tissues on the table.

“We were told, ‘The likelihood of you having a positive outcome to this pregnancy is very slim’.”

Doctors explained their unborn baby suffered from foetal growth restriction. Blood was not reaching her vessels.

Every week, they visited Bristol’s Southmead Hospital hoping for good news that never came.

Poppy Wicks pictured with mum Hannah and dad Steve on the maternity ward at Southmead hospital (Image: Rowan Griffiths/Daily Mirror)

Instead, they prepared for their little girl’s death, picking a burial site and planning the funeral. However, Hannah kept talking to her bump, willing her to live.

“We weren’t going to give up on her,” says Steve, 31, as he cradles Poppy in her handmade woollen blanket.

“We had stopped buying clothes and preparing for the birth. But we never gave up hope.”

Poppy arrived by emergency Caesarean at 25 weeks – a week past the abortion limit.

Hannah says: “When they said they had to deliver, I burst into tears. That’s when it hit me, ‘She’s either going to make it or not’.

Poppy fighting for life after she was born (Image: Rowan Griffiths/Daily Mirror)

“So many people had said, ‘She’s too small.’ We were told the hospital medical equipment to save her life after birth was too small for her and they wouldn’t be able to help her.

“But after the birth one of the doctors brought her over to me and I was able to kiss her. It meant so much that I had seen her.”

It was three weeks before Hannah was able to hold Poppy – on Mothers’ Day.

She says: “It was amazing. I sat for what felt like a lifetime, longing to hold her. To be able to properly cuddle her was unbelievable. We feel incredibly lucky.”

Poppy Wicks’ first baby grow in comparison to an average newborns (Image: Rowan Griffiths/Daily Mirror)

Poppy continued to suffer setbacks, contracting sepsis when she was six weeks old.

But the girl they call their “little fighter” also continued to defy the odds and is now at home, 17 weeks after her miracle birth.

While she still needs an oxygen aid, doctors are confident she will be breathing on her own soon.

Oliver, Hannah’s son from a past relationship, was excited about his sister moving in two weeks go. The couple had tried to explain that he might never meet her.

Poppy in her special cot in hospital (Image: Rowan Griffiths/Daily Mirror)

“There is a picture of my gran, Sylvia, holding Oliver,” Hannah says. “She passed away nine months after Oliver was born.

“I always tell him that his great-granny is the brightest star in the sky, so I told him the baby might have to go to the sky with great-granny.

“Having to tell him was horrible. He was so excited but I didn’t want it to be a bombshell if the baby passed away.

“He would ask, ‘Is the baby better yet?’. When he saw she had moved into the intensive care unit he yelled, ‘Poppy’s in the going home room!’.”

Poppy Wicks’ first nappy in comparison to an average newborn’s (Image: Rowan Griffiths/Daily Mirror)

Now, Oliver and Poppy can grow up together – though Hannah and Steve have been told she has a high risk of cerebral palsy and may face further complications.

“The fact she might have problems in the future – well, none of that matters now,” says Steve, who works in a local warehouse.

“It’s the fact that’s she’s here that’s important. That in itself is just perfect. She continues to amaze us and the doctors. I think she will continue to defy expectations.”

One of the nurses in the neonatal intensive care unit who watched over Poppy is Hannah’s auntie Gill Taylor, 60.

Poppy pictured with mum Hannah on the maternity ward (Image: Rowan Griffiths/Daily Mirror)

Gill, who is the supervisory ward ­assistant, says Poppy already has quite a personality.

“She is very feisty, all the doctors and nurses say that,” smiles Gill. “She is a little fighter. All the staff kept popping in and out to check on her, she’s captured everyone’s heart.”

Dr Richard Wach, a consultant at Southmead’s NICU unit, added that Poppy is one of the smallest babies he has seen.

“We managed to keep Hannah’s pregnancy going as long as possible, which is key,” he says.

Poppy fit entirely into her dad’s hand and arm (Image: Rowan Griffiths/Daily Mirror)

“Even if we were to take away Poppy’s size, she’s done extremely well for a baby born at 25 weeks.”

Hannah and Steve will now re-book their wedding, which was called off when Poppy arrived a month before the big day.

Hannah say: “When we found out about Poppy’s problems in the womb, we still wanted to get married to show we weren’t giving up hope. But then Poppy was unexpectedly born on March 9.”

The couple plan to marry with Poppy in attendance, alongside her proud big brothers, Oliver and Steve’s four-year-old son Oli, from a previous relationship.

Looking back on how far her daughter has come in just three months, Hannah says: “I never could have believed she would have been one of the smallest babies in the world – she looks massive now compared to when she was born!

“She really is our miracle baby.”

 

Credit: Sun

Henry Okafor

  • Taylana

    2017-07-22 #1 Author

    This is absolutely beautiful and amazing. This baby is truly blessed by God. Stay strong little one

    Reply

  • Richelle tangkawan

    2017-07-22 #2 Author

    Godbless baby ..your a great miracle and blessing. You’re always in my prayers..

    Reply

  • Yolanda

    2017-07-22 #3 Author

    This is a blessing… Miracle Baby….

    Reply

  • Reann Wright

    2017-07-22 #4 Author

    So adorable bless his heart

    Reply

  • Elysia

    2017-07-23 #5 Author

    Good bless this beautiful baby girl and her family

    Reply

  • Dametrius Renfroe

    2017-07-23 #6 Author

    Aww such an amazing story

    Reply

  • Dametrius Renfroe

    2017-07-23 #7 Author

    Inspiration to read such article. Very touching

    Reply

  • Christina Fane

    2017-07-24 #8 Author

    Such a beautiful baby

    Reply

  • Samantha

    2017-07-24 #9 Author

    There story is mind blowing, the family had hope & God was with them all the way. It’s amazing how she turned out. It’s touching & such an inspiration. Wow I’m inspired!!!

    Reply

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