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Premature baby, born before abortion limit, home after 184 days in hospital

A baby born at 23 weeks gestation weighing only 719g went home after 184 days in hospital.

After Courtney and her husband Rhys sadly lost their baby, Savannah Jane, who was born at barely 19 weeks gestation, doctors decided to protect Courtney’s second pregnancy by putting in a cervical stitch to help prevent early labour.

It seemed to work and regular ultrasounds indicated that all was going as it should be. However, while Courtney was out celebrating what should have been her first day of maternity leave with her friends, she started to experience heavy bleeding. 

“[My friend] said to me, ‘Courtney look your feet, they’re red!’. The ambulance was called and I was rushed straight to emergency”, Courtney said.

“The stitch failed and I was in labour. I was dilated three centimetres. The membrane for his amniotic sac had started to come through, which is what caused the bleed”.

“They stopped my labour six times […] Then in the early hours of a Tuesday morning at 3:00am I went into labour again and they once again tried to stop it. But by 5:00am that morning, it came in hard and fast”.

Maverick was born before the UK abortion limit at 23 weeks and five days

“There was so much happiness around, but then at the same time so much concern and worry”, dad Rhys remembered.

Because he was born so early, baby Maverick had a host of problems. At seven days old he needed surgery for a perforated stomach and just over a week later, his kidneys and lungs started to fail.

His mum and dad had gone home for the night but they were woken up by the hospital who called to inform them about their son’s dire condition.

“They said you need to get to the hospital now, ‘Can you be here in 20 minutes?’. I told them we lived 40 minutes away. And they said they didn’t think he was going to make it” Courtney said.

“It was progressively getting worse. They called to say, ‘We’ve had to up his oxygen percentage.’ He went up to 40 per cent of the oxygen requirement, and then 50 per cent”.

“If this is going to save his life, let’s do it”

Maverick kept getting worse, though, and his medical team decided to put him on nitric gas, something not usually given to babies under 34 weeks. “It can have many dangerous side effects Courtney explains “such as brain damage and intellectual damage”.

“We weighed up the options and thought if this is going to save his life, let’s do it”.

The next 48 hours seemed like an eternity but the little fighter made it out the other end and after 184 days in hospital, he was able to go home.

“He’s meeting all of his developmental milestones. He says two words – mama and hi. Mama is his favourite thing to drop when he’s sad though”, Courtney joked.

Right To Life UK spokesperson, Catherine Robinson, said “These stories seem to happen all the time. With dedicated medical teams, these little babies are doing better than ever before”.

Dear reader,

You may be surprised to learn that our 24-week abortion time limit is out of line with the majority of European Union countries, where the most common time limit for abortion on demand or on broad social grounds is 12 weeks gestation.

The latest guidance from the British Association of Perinatal Medicine enables doctors to intervene to save premature babies from 22 weeks. The latest research indicates that a significant number of babies born at 22 weeks gestation can survive outside the womb, and this number increases with proactive perinatal care.

This leaves a real contradiction in British law. In one room of a hospital, doctors could be working to save a baby born alive at 23 weeks whilst, in another room of that same hospital, a doctor could perform an abortion that would end the life of a baby at the same age.

The majority of the British population support reducing the time limit. Polling has shown that 70% of British women favour a reduction in the time limit from 24 weeks to 20 weeks or below.

Please click the button below to sign the petition to the Prime Minister, asking him to do everything in his power to reduce the abortion time limit.