Tuesday 21 February 2017

Born weighing less than a tin of beans, Ailbhe is now a miracle four-year-old

Published 15/11/2016 | 02:30

Battler: Ailbhe O’Carroll weighed just 440g when she was born at 23 weeks.
Battler: Ailbhe O’Carroll weighed just 440g when she was born at 23 weeks.

Tearing around the garden on her scooter, Ailbhe Byrne seems an average four-year-old. But to staff at the National Maternity Hospital, she is a miracle.

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Born at 23 weeks and six days, Ailbhe weighed just 440g - the same as a can of beans -when she was delivered by emergency Caesarean section in October 2012 after her mum Derval O'Carroll from Monkstown in Dublin became dangerously ill with pre-eclampsia.

"I became very unwell and continuing would have meant my life was at risk. When she was born, the team resuscitated her, but I don't think they realised just how small she was. At 440g, I believe she is the smallest ever baby born in Holles Street to survive," she said.

Derval and her husband Conor were told babies born as early as Ailbhe have a slim chance of survival and are likely to face physical and intellectual disabilities.

"It was uncharted territory for the team at Holles Street. At 500g the team are confident they can do a good job, but they hadn't worked with a baby as small as Ailbhe before, although they were amazing."

Ailbhe celebrated her fourth birthday in October with her pals in playschool but her mum says she wouldn't have had a chance without the top class team in Holles Street.

Ailbhe O’Carroll after she was born
Ailbhe O’Carroll after she was born

November is Premature Awareness Month. To donate to the National Maternity Hospital Text UNIT8 to 50300 to donate €4 to the NMH.

Baby Ailbhe O’Carroll
Baby Ailbhe O’Carroll

Irish Independent

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