A BABY has beaten the odds to celebrate her first birthday today.
Blossom Elliott, from Wool, and her twin Melodee were born prematurely at 25 weeks.
Tragically, Melodee passed away at just 15 days old due to an infection in her lungs.
She weighed one pound and nine ounces while Blossom was even smaller, weighing one pound and four ounces.
The twins were born at Portsmouth’s Queen Alexandra Hospital and were immediately transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit, which specialises in the care of ill or premature newborn babies.
Parents Tim Elliott, 38, and Michelle O’Neil, 27, spent six weeks ‘almost living’ at the hospital.
The family were then transferred to Poole and on April 14, 2013 finally made their journey home.
Dad Tim said: “It has been a real rollercoaster year of emotions.
“When we found out Michelle was pregnant in September 2012 we were delighted it was twins.
“But Michelle suffered from Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) meaning her body thought it was time to give birth when it wasn’t, and on February 26 last year – at just 25 weeks pregnant – her waters broke.”
Michelle was kept in hospital for six days after her waters broke and was given steroid injections so that the babies’ lungs could function efficiently when she went into labour.
Tim added: “Blossom had terrible reflux after six weeks in hospital and she struggled to breath properly, having to be resuscitated by doctors a few times which was horrible because it brought back memories of Melodee passing. Losing Melodee was devastating; nothing could have prepared us for what happened.
“But one of the things that keeps us going is Blossom and the fact she is doing so well.
“Since she was three months premature, Blossom is three months behind other babies.
“She cannot crawl, walk or talk yet.
“Despite our loss we are so lucky to have Blossom; she really was a miracle.
“We have also given Blossom the middle name of Melodee so she always has a part of her sister with her.”
The couple will hold a birthday party for Blossom and release balloons in memory of Melodee on March 8.
* Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) is a condition that causes excessive movement of the pubic symphysis, either anterior or lateral, as well as associated pain, possibly because of a misalignment of the pelvis.
Most commonly associated with pregnancy and childbirth, it is thought to affect up to one in four pregnant women to varying degrees.
About one baby in every 13 will be born prematurely – in other words, before the 37th week of pregnancy.
Babies are classed as ‘extremely premature’ if they are born before 29 weeks.
In England alone, 54,000 babies are born prematurely each year. Many twins and triplets are born prematurely.