Emilia Grabarczyk was born via caesarean section at 25 weeks, and is believed to be the smallest ever baby to survive such an early delivery.
At the time of her birth in the German city of Witten she measured 22 centimetres and weighed just eight ounces; at 25 weeks a healthy baby would typically weigh around three times that amount. Her foot was just an inch long.
Now, nine months on, she weighs 7lb 2oz and is getting stronger with each passing day.
Dr Bahman Gharavi, Head of Children and Youth Clinic at St Mary’s hospital, described her birth as truly unique, saying: “Even children with a birth weight of 14 ounces rarely survive. We have to thank Emilia as well for her own survival. She is a little fighter.
“For more than six months, it was unclear whether she would survive. Only in recent weeks she is getting more robust.”
As Emilia’s mother Sabine entered her 25th week of pregnancy nine months ago, she was warned by obstetrician Dr Sven Schiermeier that the placenta was failing to provide her child with enough nutrition. Without a caesarean, she would have died in the womb.
The emergency procedure followed, and Dr Gharavi has now credited the efforts of paediatricians, gynaecologists and paediatric surgeons in helping Emily to survive. Despite her size, she appeared to be in good health. Her early birth carried a risk of behavioural and learning difficulties, but there have been so signs of any disability.
“There were many difficult days and many tears, but she clearly wanted to survive,” said Sabine.