A “miracle” baby, born 13 weeks premature and weighing less than a tub of butter, has reached an emotional milestone.
Little Abigail Meijers was delivered three months early due to pregnancy complications.
Now, after winning her fight for life, the little girl has finally been allowed to leave hospital.
Abigail’s parents waited 178 days to bring their daughter home from hospital, after she was born on December 2 with foetal growth restriction, and weighing a mere 422 grams.
“[We] still don’t believe it. [We are] pinching ourselves,” her father Owen Peters told 7 News.
“It will hit us when we get in the car,” his partner Taryn Meijers added.
“Day by day it was going to be a 50/50 chance… There was a lot of things stacked against her,” Mr Peters said.
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But slowly and steadily she grew, and Abigail now weighs a healthy 3.5 kilograms.
Doctors at the Monash Children’s Hospital used new research to treat the tiny newborn.
“We are looking at better ways of detecting brain injury in these babies early and intervening at an earlier stage,” said Dr Atul Malhotra.
Abigail is at risk of cerebral palsy and learning difficulties but so far she hasn’t shown any signs.
Around 20 babies are born in Australia each year weighing less than 500 grams. Sadly, only a quarter of those will make it home from hospital.
Doctors say it’s incredible not only that Abigail has survived, but that she’s doing so well.
“Her development has been going from strength to strength and I’m confident she’s going to have a very bright future,” Dr Malhotra said.
Her dad, who couldn’t wait to get his little girl home, said: “She’s a miracle because of the work [the doctors] have done.”