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Baby boy born weighing the same as a can of coke at 27 weeks now meeting his milestones at one year old

by | Mar 21, 2024

By Right to Life UK

A baby boy weighing less than a pound when he was born and who had to spend 4 months in hospital has beaten the odds and celebrated his first birthday.

Everything seemed to be going well when Isabel Vera was pregnant with her son until a couple of warning signs indicated that the rest of her pregnancy might not be smooth sailing. At her 20 week ultrasound scan, her son Leovani measured five weeks behind where he should have been and three months before his due date, doctors realised that Isabel had high blood pressure, which can be an indicator of preeclampsia.

As a result, baby Leovani was born prematurely at just 27 weeks gestation weighing the same as a can of coke. He was so small that he was able to wear his father’s wedding ring as a bracelet.

Because he was born so early, the outlook for Leovani was not good but his mother “begged for the doctors to do what they could.” Leovani had to spend 127 days in intensive care during which time he increased in strength and learnt to breathe on his own.

Isabel said “I barely left his side when he was born, and even at home, I would be checking the camera to make sure he was okay in the hospital”.

“I just kept crying and I hardly stopped to even process what we were going through. When he was in the NICU I commuted there daily to visit him.

“There were some nights that []I was there so late that I’d sleep in my car or the waiting room, I just didn’t want to leave him”, she went on.

Meeting other families on social media who were going through similar situations made Isabel more confident that Leovani would make it.

“Leovani is my miracle”

Despite his struggles Leovani celebrated his first birthday with dinner, a family day out and cake.

“When it finally got to his first birthday we wanted to make it as special as possible but obviously didn’t want to overwhelm him. We kept it very small and with immediate family only due to cold season. We had a lovely dinner and some cake at our home”.

He is now hitting his milestones, including recently learning to crawl.

Isabel said “Seeing him celebrate his first birthday was like a full circle for me. Leovani is my miracle, and I am just over the moon to be able to say he’s a happy and healthy one-year-old”.

Survival rates for premature babies have improved dramatically

At 27 weeks’ gestation, Leovani was born below the original 28 week abortion limit set out in the Abortion Act 1967, which was then changed to 24 weeks in 1990.

The introduction of a 24-week gestational limit in 1990 was significantly motivated by the results of a Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) working party report on neonatal survival rates, which noted improvements in survival rates before 28 weeks of gestation.

During the debates ahead of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 becoming law, MPs referred to medical advances that had led to improved neonatal survival rates before 28 weeks gestation and the need for a reduction from 28 weeks.

Similarly, when the question of abortion time limits was revisited in 2008, the lowering of the abortion time limit in 1990 was again linked to the increased survival rates for babies born before 28 weeks gestation.

Since then, however, further medical advances have meant that babies born below 24 weeks gestation are increasingly able to survive.

A 2008 study based on a neonatal intensive care unit in London found that neonatal survival rates at 22 and 23 weeks gestation had improved. In 1981-85, no babies who were born at these gestational ages survived to discharge. However, by 1986-90, 19% did and this increased to 54% in the period 1996-2000.

Spokesperson for Right To Life UK Catherine Robinson said “Many congratulations to baby Leovani on his amazing recovery after being born at such a small size. Stories such as these demonstrate the humanity of children in the womb and demonstrate their capacity to fight for life when given the right support from their parents and medical professionals.”

Categories: Premature babies