A miracle Scots baby born 22 weeks early and weighing the same as a loaf of bread has defied all the odds to survive.
Baby Sofia Viktoria Birina is finally at home in Airdrie with her mum, Egija, and dad, Inars after a four-month fight for life.
Micro preemie Sofia was given a 10% chance of survival during labour and even less if she survived being born.
Originally due on February 1, Sofia was born on October 2 weighing just 1.1lb, making her one of – if not the – youngest ever surviving premature baby in Scotland.
The tiny tot weighed as little as a loaf of bread and was no bigger than a human hand, at just 26cm.
Little Sofia spent four months in University Hospital Wishaw after “132 of the longest and scariest days” of her parents lives.
Mum Egija said: “Everything was fine at the twenty week scan. Then just over a week later, I felt pain so I went into hospital and was told that I was already dilated and had to go into labour.
“After ten days bed rest our beloved daughter Sofia made an appearance. She arrived in the world with the biggest scream and was crying so much.
“We didn’t expect she would survive but that’s where our journey started.”
Sofia’s proud parents spent as much time as they could by her side as she fought for her life in an incubator for three months.
Overcoming a vast number of health issues, Sofia was a fighter from day one as she battled with a heart defect, a stage one brain bleed, an eye disease retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) and numerous infections.
Because her lungs weren’t fully developed, the tiny baby had respiratory distress symptom and had to have seven blood transfusions.
Mum Egija had to wait one week before she could hold her baby girl as she was so fragile and small.
Even now at home she has to have a tube attached to her for extra oxygen after being ventilated in hospital.
On the “many really tough days”, Egija and Inars didn’t think their baby girl would make it as they tried to put on a brave face.
Egija said: “Some of the staff were surprised I was coming in every day with a smile on my face but I wanted to be strong for Sofia. I didn’t want her to see me cry and I never cried in front of her until she was strong enough to go into a cot. Then I had a good, happy cry.
“She was hooked up to lots of machines and she was ventilated for several weeks to help her breathe. First time they tried to get her to breathe on her own, she only lasted twenty minutes then her heart rate dropped and I felt like I was losing her but the medical and nursing staff were great. I nearly fainted I was so scared.
“They kept trying every couple of weeks and on the sixth try she managed to stay off the ventilator. Then she didn’t react well after getting her immunisations and vaccines in the cot and was forgetting how to breathe so had to go back into the incubator a few weeks ago.”
The pair thanked all staff from the maternity ward, newborn intensive care unit and special care baby unit at Wishaw and Glasgow Children’s Hospital.
“They have saved me and my little miracle. They have done so much for us and they will always be our family and forever in our hearts. We will miss them so much,” Egija said.
During the last few weeks Sofia became strong enough to go in a cot and then finally she got to go home.
Egija said: “Sofia has been doing great since we got home. She has the biggest and most beautiful smile on her face and is getting used to her new surroundings. We are all loving it, including my two dogs who are very curious at this new arrival.
“She’s now four months old and I look at her and think she could still be in my tummy because of how small she is, even though she is now four times her birth weight.
“We have loads of follow up checks at the hospital for the first two years and she has to get check-ups at the lung clinic for three or four years but everything is moving in the right direction.
“To all other mummies going into such an early labour, there is hope. Never give up. I want to share this story as I can give hope to other mums who are expecting so early.”
Cheryl Clark, NHS Lanarkshire chief midwife said: “Baby Sofia is such an inspiration and we are so happy she is now home with her family.
“On behalf of all the staff who have been involved in her care, I would like to wish Sofia and her parents all the best for their future together.”