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I gave birth to the UK’s smallest baby – her foot is smaller than my thumb

A TEENAGE mum has given birth to the UK’s smallest baby, with her foot no bigger than a thumb. Ellie Paton’s baby Hannah Stibbles weighed just 325g (11oz) when born premature, arriving three-and-a-half months before her due date. Ellie, 17, was warned tiny Hannah might not survive and she was given a 20 per cent […] ...

A TEENAGE mum has given birth to the UK’s smallest baby, with her foot no bigger than a thumb.

Ellie Paton’s baby Hannah Stibbles weighed just 325g (11oz) when born premature, arriving three-and-a-half months before her due date.

Hannah Stibbles weighed just 325g (11oz) at birth. She has to have bubble wrap as a blanket
Ellie and partner Brandon Stibbles, 21, said Hannah is “the best thing to ever happen to them”

Ellie, 17, was warned tiny Hannah might not survive and she was given a 20 per cent chance of pulling through.

She was born on December 30 by emergency C-section at 25 weeks.

But Hannah was strong enough to breathe by herself and is slowly growing strength and putting on weight.

Ellie and partner Brandon Stibbles, 21, said Hannah is “the best thing to ever happen to them” and they can’t wait to get her home to Newmilns, Ayrshire, Scotland.

The couple were warned at a 22-week scan that their baby was the size of a 16-week foetus.

Ellie was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia – high blood pressure during pregnancy that, left untreated, can cause premature birth or mean the baby doesn’t grow as expected in the womb.

The only way to cure the condition is to deliver the baby. Normally this is at full term, but it may be earlier in severe cases.

Ellie said of her complicated pregnancy it was “scary all the time”.

No date for a C-section was penciled in as one could be needed at any time.

Before Hannah’s birth, Ellie was treated in hospital for two days because her blood pressure was too high.

She was sent home but the next morning, on December 29, Ellie woke up with excruciating stomach and chest pains and was rushed to Crosshouse Hospital around 11am.

She was sent to The Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH), in Glasgow, around 7pm.

Hannah was born by emergency C-section just after 1am on December 30 and is thought to be the smallest baby to survive in the UK in the past 19 years.

The UK’s smallest baby before Hannah was Aaliyah Hart who was born weighing 12oz (340g) in 2003 and is now in her early 20s.

Hanna’s footprint next to her mum’s hand
Hannah was born at 25 weeks and given a 20 per cent survival chance. But she was strong enough to breathe by herself when born, her parents said

Brandon, a labourer, said: “The high up doctors were coming into the neonatal unit and saying ‘babies this size just don’t survive’.

“We were told she had a 20 per cent chance of survival, that she could need resuscitating, or be stillborn but when she came out she was breathing, she’s practically breathing on her own.”

Ellie has got to hold Hannah briefly once, and Brandon got to change the tot’s nappy – when she grabbed his finger in a white-knuckle fist.

Brandon said: “We are loving it. It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to us.

“Ellie got to hold her and I got to change her nappy – when I took my hand away from changing her nappy, she grabbed it.”

The baby is given bubble wrap to keep her warm as it is lighter than a blanket.

Brandon said: “She has bubble wrap on her, it keeps the heat in but she tends to kick it away.

“Everybody says she’s very sassy, she’s very active.”

The couple are staying in a nearby Travelodge for the foreseeable future but when Hannah tips the scales at 500g she will be moved to Crosshouse Hospital.

That could be two months away, although she has gained 25g since being out of the womb. It may not be till Hannah’s due date, on April 13, that she gets to go home.

The couple, who have been together nearly 18 months, are living for the moment they’ll be able to hold their little girl. 

Ellie said: “We are allowed to put our hands in the incubator, I have held her once – she sleeps on a thing called ‘the nest’.

“When the nurse changed it I got to hold her up. It will be pretty soon we’re able to hold her.”

Brandon said: “If anything she has excelled on the outside.

“We are hoping things stay the way she is, putting on weight and feeding well.

“It’s not been easy but we’ve got a really strong support system, Ellie’s family have been an amazing support.”

Ellie’s mum, Stacey Miller, 36, gave birth to her third child, Abbie-Beth Miller, 28 weeks early last year. 

Stacey – Hanna’s gran – has been a massive support to the young couple.

Brandon said: “Ellie’s mum went through the exact same thing.

“We are both just really eager to be back in our own environment.

“I would never have done it any way differently either.”

Ellie and Brandon praised medics at the maternity unit in the QEUH.

Brandon said: “All the people who we have dealt with since Ellie went into the maternity ward have been absolutely brilliant.

“Our whole life has just changed.”

Hannah won’t go home until around April 13 – her due date

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