The delighted parents of a baby girl who weighed less than a tin of tomatoes when she was born prematurely have finally been able to take their daughter home after nearly three months in neonatal care.
Amber-May Bass was just 445g, which included the weight of a breathing tube, when she was born by emergency Caesarian section at West Suffolk on August 3.
She is thought to be the smallest baby to be delivered at the hospital and survive.
She has since she has received treatment at both Addenbrooke’s and West Suffolk.
But on November 14, two days before the date she was due, she was allowed to return home to Stowmarket with her parents Nikkie Palmer and Andrew Bass and big sister Jenna-Rose (6), after gaining weight and reaching a healthy 3lb 13½.
“It’s been a roller coaster 15 weeks, during which I’ve had both the saddest and happiest days of my life,” said Nikkie, 34.
“Amber-May wasn’t given much chance of survival when she was born, but we never gave up hope.
“She was given lots of antibiotics and was hooked up to lots of drips and monitors.
“It was quite scary when you walked in and saw it all, especially as she was so tiny.
“But one of the hardest things was that we weren’t able to pick her up and cuddle her.
“All we could do for the first few weeks was look at her and put our hands through the holes on her incubator.
“Since then she’s done really well.
“She has put weight on and loves her food, and is very vocal when she doesn’t get it quickly enough.
“I was so excited when I was told we could take her home and am actually looking forward to getting woken up in the night as I’ve waited 15 weeks for it.
“We’re now planning a fantastic family Christmas.
“She the best present we could ever have hoped for.”
Amber-May was transferred to Addenbrooke’s Hospital the day after she was born, where she spent ten weeks gaining weight and building strength before returning to West Suffolk at the start of October.
“It was such a relief to come back to West Suffolk,” added Nikkie.
“It was a sign that Amber-May was getting better and was one step closer to home for us.
“The care she’s received has been absolutely fantastic, and she came on leaps and bounds after we came back to Bury St Edmunds.
The staff have been brilliant and we’re really grateful to them.”
Amber-May’s dad Andrew, 27, said: “We didn’t know if Amber-May would last the night when she was first born, but she’s a fighter and is doing really well now.
“The care she had was absolutely fantastic in both hospitals and we’re so pleased to be able to take her home.”
Dr Ian Evans, consultant paediatrician at the hospital, said: “Amber-May isn’t the most premature baby we’ve cared for at West Suffolk, but as far as I’m aware she’s the smallest who has survived.
“We are really pleased with the progress she has made, especially as she was so tiny when she was born.”
For all the latest news see tomorrow’s (Thursday, December 6) Echo.