Tiny 1lb superbabies defy all the odds

Shona Machin with her son Jacob and Graham Devonshire with his son Finley.
Shona Machin with her son Jacob and Graham Devonshire with his son Finley.

Tiny tots Jacob Machin and Finley Devonshire must possess real Superbaby powers after being born extremely prematurely and overcoming dozens of health complications to finally be allowed home.

The two boys, now 18 weeks old, both weighed under 1lb when they were born at Nottingham’s City Hospital on 23rd April and their parents became firm friends when they met at the neo-natal unit.

Premature baby Jacob Machin.

Premature baby Jacob Machin.

Jacob was 14 weeks premature, weighed 440 grams, and was given only a five per cent chance of survival when he was delivered by Caesarean section after doctors found a lack of amniotic fluid in mum Shona’s womb and a problem with the placenta.

“They took him out and rushed him straight to the neo-natal intensive care unit because of his weight and his breathing. He was put straight on a ventilator,” said Shona (23), of The Quadrangle, Blidworth.

Finley was born by emergency C-section after his mum Gemma Haskey (35), of Millers Way, Kirkby, was admitted to hospital with what is thought to have been pre-eclampsia.

Gemma, who had a kidney transplant several years ago, was also being treated for potential kidney failure and doctors discovered problems with the placenta, telling her and partner Graham that the baby had stopped growing at 20 weeks so they should consider a termination.

Premature baby Finley Devonshire.

Premature baby Finley Devonshire.

Luckily scans showed that the baby was not brain damaged and he was delivered at 24 weeks gestation, weighing 450 grams, before both Finley and Gemma were rushed to intensive care.

Graham said: “I was to-ing and fro-ing backwards and forwards. It was just a blur.”

Both babies were suffering from serious health complications because they were born so prematurely - Finley did not have the top layer of his skin and they both have chronic lung disease and are still on oxygen.

Jacob was moved around four hospitals for treatment to conditions that included a hole in his oesophagus, while Finley needed a broviac line, suffered a hernia and had a pulmonary haemorrhage, among many other problems.

They have both needed laser eye surgery to stop them from going blind.

Said Gemma: “Originally they didn’t think Finley would survive the birth at all. We were literally taking it hour by hour.”

It was as the families were going through this horrific time that they started chatting and sharing experiences, reassuring and comforting each other.

“It helps, it really does help,” said Gemma.

“And in the long run we have made friends out of it all,” added Shona.

After around four months in hospital, both boys were eventually strong enough and well enough to be allowed home and their parents have dubbed them both ‘miracle babies’.

“It’s amazing,” said Shona and husband Will.

“We never thought this day would ever,come. We didn’t think we would ever get him home but we did.

“He has pulled through a hell of a lot of stuff when the doctors said he would not pull through.”

“I never asked ‘when will Finley be going home?’ because I didn’t want to be told he would not be,” said Gemma.

“He knows his own mind and he knows what he wants. Every time the doctor said something, he did completely the opposite and came through. He is very strong and determined.”

The two families continue to keep in touch and are even talking about having a joint 1st birthday party for their miracle babies next year.

The boys, who now weigh just over 6lb, are expected to have caught up with other children their own age by around two-years-old.

And their parents say that they cannot thank the doctors and nurses who helped save their sons’ lives enough.

“They were absolutely amazing,” they added.