Miracle Ipswich baby is fighting strong after being born at 24 weeks and six days

PUBLISHED: 12:00 11 February 2016

Lydia Sophie Eileen, who was born at 24 weeks and 6 days.

Lydia Sophie Eileen, who was born at 24 weeks and 6 days.


When Ipswich mum Maxine Steward when into labour 15 weeks early, she feared the worst for her baby girl.

Harry, Jacob and Maxine.Harry, Jacob and Maxine.

But today little Lydia – who weighed in at just 1lb 8oz – is continuing to fight for her life four days after her birth.

Miss Steward unexpectedly went into labour while she was on the toilet at her friend’s home on Saturday evening.

The 24-year-old was rushed to Ipswich Hospital and later transferred by ambulance to St Thomas’ Hospital in central London, where staff are trained to deal with extremely premature babies.

Lydia Sophie Eileen was delivered by caesarean at 5am on Monday - at just 24 weeks and six days.

Maxine Steward and Johnny Hodgkinson.Maxine Steward and Johnny Hodgkinson.

The earliest a baby has been born and survived is 21 weeks and five days.

“It was horrible, all I was thinking was, ‘is she going to survive or is she going to die’, I didn’t know what to expect,” said Miss Steward, of Waterford Road, Ipswich. “It was the worst experience of my life.”

The early labour has been put down to both Miss Steward and Lydia contracting septicaemia - a serious bloodstream infection.

Baby Lydia is now stable but is being carefully monitored in an incubator.

Lydia Sophie Eileen, who was born at 24 weeks and 6 days.Lydia Sophie Eileen, who was born at 24 weeks and 6 days.

“She’s had three blood transfusions but she’s getting there, she’s fighting,” added Miss Steward, who also has two sons - Jacob, five, and four-year-old Harry.

“You look at her and you can’t believe how a baby can be so small but still so strong.

“She wasn’t breathing very well so they have put her on a ventilator but apart from that she is doing really good.”

Miss Steward and dad Johnny Hodgkinson have not been able to hold their baby since she was born, and nurses cannot say when it will be safe for them to do so.

“It’s horrible,” added Miss Steward. “I just want to pick her up and give her a kiss and I can’t, it’s heartbreaking.”

Mother and baby are both being treated for septicaemia at the London hospital, and Miss Steward said she doesn’t know when she will be able to take her daughter home to the rest of her family.

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