Society

Preemie Baby Undergoes Incredible Transformation (Photos)

| by Michael Howard

A baby who was born so premature that her feet were the size of pennies is defying all odds and thriving at 9 months old.

Victoria Bradley, 37, gave birth to her daughter, Francesca, after just 24 weeks. Francesca weighed only 1 pound, 6 ounces when she was born, and doctors did not have much hope for her survival.

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"After Francesca was born, nurses actually gave me a memory box, which they do for babies that die at birth," Victoria told Inside Edition. "They took prints of her hands and feet for me."

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"I thought she still looked like a fetus," Victoria said of her daughter. "Her skin was see-through, and she didn't have eyelashes or eyebrows. Her eyes weren't even open yet."

In fact, if Francesca had been born two days earlier -- which would be before the U.K.'s abortion limit -- she might have been treated as a stillborn. U.K. law considers babies born before the abortion limit to be non-viable, and doctors are not obligated to try to keep them alive, according to the Daily Mail.

"It's scary to think if she had been just two days earlier they wouldn't have worked to save her," Victoria said.

In the weeks following her birth, Francesca received 15 blood transfusions and underwent multiple treatments for meningitis, sepsis, two collapsed lungs and kidney failure. Doctors also operated on her eyes, fearing blindness.

Soon things were looking up.

"She just kept getting stronger each day," Victoria said. "After eight weeks she was off her incubator. The doctors couldn't believe she was alive."

Francesca was released from the hospital after 17 weeks. Five months later, she is doing remarkably well, weighing in at a healthy 15 pounds, 2 ounces.

"She's just a joy," Victoria said. "It's just great to finally have her home. I didn't think she would be here."

That Victoria became pregnant at all was a shock to her and her partner, as she had previously been told by doctors she would likely never have children.

"I’d been told I might not be able to have children but ended up conceiving naturally," she told the Liverpool Echo. "Francesca was a miracle before she was even born."

Sources: Inside Edition, Daily Mail, Liverpool Echo / Photo credit: Sarah Hopkins/Flickr, Mercury Press & Media via Daily Mail, Liverpool Echo

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