A very happy Christmas: Festive joy at the home of Amber-May Bass in Stowmarket as the 20 week old baby is home for Christmas - believed to be the smallest baby to be born at the West Suffolk Hospital and to have survived. 

Amber-May with mum Nikkie Palmer

Gallery: Stowmarket family’s joy at premature baby’s first Christmas at home

Monday, December 24, 2012
11.20 AM

One family have the best present they could dream of this year - a miraculous story of survival against all the odds.

In their darkest moments after their daughter was born 15-weeks early, Nikkie Palmer and Andrew Bass thought they may never spend a Christmas Day together as a family,

But now battling Amber-May is home and fighting fit.

Weighing less than a tin of beans, Amber-May was not given much chance of survival - but there was hope in abundance.

Amber-May weighed just 445g including the weight of a breathing tube when she was born by emergency Caesarean section at West Suffolk Hospital. She is thought to be the smallest baby to be delivered at the hospital and lived.

Ms Palmer, of Curwen Road, Stowmarket, said it was “absolutely amazing” to have her daughter home.

Amber-May’s sister Jenna-Rose, six, had already asked father Christmas to bring the newest member of the family home fomr Deecember 25.

Ms Palmer said: “I really thought this Christmas would never come because we didn’t expect her home really before the new year.

“Friends and family have been absolutely amazing. They have all helped out with picking up Jenna-Rose from school and taking her to school.

“We wouldn’t have been able to get through it all had it not been for our friends and family.

“And they are still supportive now. It’s not like ‘they are home now it’s ok.’ We have a great support network with everybody.”

Amber-May was allowed home after gaining weight and reaching 3lb 13½oz - she now weighs in at a positively-plump 5lb 11oz.

Miss Palmer said she had been gaining weight slowly “but now she’s getting to the point where she’s doing really well”.

“She’s settled into her feeding routine and everything now,” she added.

Christmas is going to be a family affair with Christmas dinner at Ms Palmer’s mother’s house in Stowmarket and Boxing Day at Mr Bass’ parents’ house near Bacton.

Ms Palmer said: “We are just so excited about Christmas. Even just the build up to it. Having Amber-May home and all that - it’s so exciting.”

•Chilton Community Primary School, where Jenna-Rose attends, in Stowmarket has raised £350 for the neonatal unit at West Suffolk Hospital through a raffle, collecting funds at the Christmas play shows and through staff donating money instead of buying Christmas cards.

To see a gallery of pictures click on the link at the top right corner of this page.