A baby who, when born, weighed less than a tin of baked beans is settling into life at home with her family after months in neonatal care.
Amber-May Bass was 15 weeks premature when she was delivered by emergency caesarean section at West Suffolk Hospital on August 3.
Lighter than 1lb, she weighed less than a standard 400 grams tin of baked beans.
It is thought she is the smallest baby ever to have been born at the Bury St Edmunds hospital and survived.
On Wednesday, two days before her due date, the now almost 4lb girl was allowed home with parents Nikkie Palmer and Andrew Bass, and her big sister Jenna-Rose. “We’re just taking each day as it comes,” said Nikkie, “but it’s great to finally have her home.”
“We thought it would be in the New Year some time so it’ll be great to have her here for Christmas,” said Andrew,27.
“She’s the best present we could ever have hoped for,” added Nikkie, 34.
Amber-May’s early arrival became necessary after doctors discovered a blood clot under Nikkie’s placenta.
The couple, from Stowmarket, were warned about the dangers of having a premature baby.
Nikkie said: “We had an hour or two to decide what to do. We told the doctor that she was made with love and we were going to fight all the way for her.”
Within eight hours of being born, Amber-May was transferred from West Suffolk to Addenbrooke’s, in Cambridge. Ten weeks later she returned to Bury, one step closer to home.
Nikkie said: “When she was born we were told to expect the worst.
“She was given antibiotics and was hooked up to lots of drips and monitors. It was quite scary to walk in and see it all, especially as she was so tiny.”
One of the hardest things for the new parents was not being able to hold their daughter and only being able to touch her through an incubator.
Andrew said: “All we could do for the first few weeks was put our hands in and comfort her. We were living every day minute by minute. It was awful.”
While Nikkie stayed in Cambridge, Andrew visited every night and friends helped out where they could with six-year-old Jenna-Rose, who has been ‘really understanding’ .
Nikkie said: “It was a very testing time for our relationship. You have to keep your family strong and together and keep praying every day.”
Reflecting on the experience, this week she said: “It’s been a total roller coaster, with some of the best times and the worst times of our lives.”