For two months, medics had been telling Hannah Wicks that her child daughter wouldn’t survive.
Poppy, born at 25 weeks on March 9, weighing 12.7oz, was so small that along with her legs and arms curled up she regarded like a 7cm tennis ball.
Thinking she had little selection however to arrange for the worst, Hannah purchased a tiny rabbit toy so her little woman would by no means 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.”
But now, that toy bunny sits in Poppy’s cot after she received her unimaginable battle for all times .
She is among the smallest infants to outlive and at 4 months previous she weighs in at 4lb 5oz in opposition to the typical 7lb 5oz for a new child.
Hannah says: “Poppy actually is our miracle child – she’s simply fought and fought and fought in opposition to all the chances.
“But she’s made it. We’ve by no means given up hope however we all the time ready for the worst – that Poppy wouldn’t 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’s wrestle was documented in images at each step. And whereas the highway forward of her is lengthy, her future lastly seems to be brilliant.
It is one thing Hannah, 31, and companion Steve McSween can nonetheless barely comprehend.
From 18 weeks into the being pregnant, Hannah – additionally mum to Oliver, 5 – was warned her child wouldn’t stay.
She says: “All alongside we have been advised, ‘She’s not going to be alive on the subsequent scan’.
“I keep in mind at some point we have been advised she wasn’t rising and we have been taken right into a small room. I knew it was unhealthy information as a result of there was a field of tissues on the desk.
“We have been advised, ‘The likelihood of you having a positive outcome to this pregnancy is very slim’.”
Doctors defined their unborn child suffered from foetal progress restriction. Blood was not reaching her vessels.
Every week, they visited Bristol’s Southmead Hospital hoping for excellent news that by no means got here.
Instead, they ready for his or her little woman’s loss of life, selecting a burial web site and planning the funeral. However, Hannah stored speaking to her bump, prepared her to stay.
“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 – per week previous the abortion restrict.
Hannah says: “When they mentioned they needed to ship, I burst into tears. That’s when it hit me, ‘She’s both going to make it or not’.
“So many individuals had mentioned, ‘She’s too small.’ We have been advised the hospital medical gear to avoid wasting her life after beginning was too small for her and so they wouldn’t have the ability to assist her.
“But after the beginning one of many docs introduced her over to me and I used to be in a position to kiss her. It meant a lot that I had seen her.”
It was three weeks earlier than Hannah was in a position to maintain 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 continued to undergo setbacks, contracting sepsis when she was six weeks previous.
But the woman they name their “little fighter” additionally continued to defy the chances and is now at house, 17 weeks after her miracle beginning.
While she nonetheless wants an oxygen assist, docs are assured she will likely be respiratory on her personal quickly.
Oliver, Hannah’s son from a previous relationship, was enthusiastic about his sister shifting in two weeks go. The couple had tried to clarify that he would possibly by no means meet her.
“There is a picture of my gran, Sylvia, holding Oliver,” Hannah says. “She handed away 9 months after Oliver was born.
“I all the time inform him that his great-granny is the brightest star within the sky, so I advised him the infant may need to go to the sky with great-granny.
“Having to inform him was horrible. He was so excited however I didn’t need it to be a bombshell if the infant handed 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!’.”
Now, Oliver and Poppy can develop up collectively – although Hannah and Steve have been advised she has a excessive threat of cerebral palsy and will face additional problems.
“The fact she might have problems in the future – well, none of that matters now,” says Steve, who works in an area 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 within the neonatal intensive care unit who watched over Poppy is Hannah’s auntie Gill Taylor, 60.
Gill, who’s the supervisory ward assistant, says Poppy already has fairly a character.
“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 guide at Southmead’s NICU unit, added that Poppy is among the smallest infants he has seen.
“We managed to keep Hannah’s pregnancy going as long as possible, which is key,” he says.
“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 ceremony, which was known as off when Poppy arrived a month earlier than the massive 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 massive brothers, Oliver and Steve’s four-year-old son Oli, from a earlier relationship.
Looking again on how far her daughter has are available in simply three months, Hannah says: “I by no means may have believed she would have been one of many smallest infants on the planet – she seems to be large now in comparison with when she was born!
“She really is our miracle baby.”