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Tiny Tot Mum of baby born 14 weeks early and weighing just 506 grams says miracles can happen


Fighter, baby Ella was born after just 26 weeks

Fighter, baby Ella was born after just 26 weeks

Fighter, baby Ella was born after just 26 weeks

Lisa Blennerhassett's two-year-old daughter Ella, was given a fifty per cent chance of survival when she was born at 26 weeks by emergency C-section.

Weighing in at a miniscule 506 grams, at just one week old her tiny body was administered with five shots of adrenaline while medics desperately worked to save her life.

The brave tot spent 19 weeks in neonatal care in University Maternity Hospital (UMH) Limerick and was one of the smallest babies born in Limerick in 2019.

Now thriving and well, Lisa has decided to pen a book to help other parents who are caring for sick and ailing premature babies.

Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast Lisa said: "My placenta basically gave up; I was in hospital for a few days beforehand and she was delivered on Tuesday the 28th of May.

"It was a bit of a shock - she went on from there to spend 19 weeks in neo-natal. We were told before she was born it was 50/50, her chances of survival.

"So to get her to the first 24 hours, then the next 48, the the next 72 - and then for the first week. And she hit all that with flying colours, and they said after that the main objective was to avoid infection.

"But we couldn't believe how well the first week went - we even got to take her out for a hold, even though she was on a ventilator.

"We were told that day that that day would tell a lot, and were advised to get her baptized or whatever we needed to do."

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The couple were dealt more devastating news when Ella suddenly took a turn for the worst. "A couple of days later we were called in at 5.30 in the morning to say that her heartrate had gone down really low, and they were trying to resuscitate her - that we needed to come in straight away.

"Terrifying... but luckily by the time we'd got in she'd come around but it's a sight I suppose no parents wants to ever see. And reading her medical report after, I suppose we didn't realise how serious it was at the time - but they were working on her for 15 minutes doing CPR, and she had to get five shots of adrenaline.

"A miracle to be alive, to be honest," she continued.

The proud mum penned her book, 'Once Tiny, Forever Strong', to celebrate Ella's first birthday, a milestone she thought her baby girl would never see.


Joy, Ella celebrating her milestone first birthday. Picture GoFundMe

Joy, Ella celebrating her milestone first birthday. Picture GoFundMe

Joy, Ella celebrating her milestone first birthday. Picture GoFundMe

"We wanted to do something special for her first birthday... obviously with COVID we couldn't do much.

"But we set up a GoFundMe page and the GoFundMe page took off - we didn't think it would do as well as it did.

"We raised €8,020, then we wanted to get something unique for the [neo-natal] unit and we wanted to do something that kind of tied in with Ella as well.

"Ella loves books, and we're talking with different nurses - particularly one of the head nurses, Marie - and he said 'Would you ever think about writing her story?'

"In the early weeks, they were encouraging me to read to her in the incubator when I couldn't take her out... so they say by reading to her, they find the parents voices very soothing and it's very regulating for them.

"It's a children's story, telling the story about Ella in a nice, child-friendly way.

"It tells the story without making it too scary, but it's there for the parents to pull it out and say 'If this baby can do it, then mine can as well'".

The book was originally just planned for the Neonatal Unit in UMH Limerick, but they are considering putting it on general sale "in the coming months".

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