Baby born at 23 weeks beats all odds - and look at her now aged four!

Little Ailbhe Byrne is a miracle child

December 09 2018

A premature baby, who was born at a shocking 23 weeks and six days - and weighed just 440kg at birth - has defied all odds to be a lively four-year-old who loves to scooter around!

Derval O'Carroll gave birth to Ailbhe Byrne in Dublin after she became dangerously sick with pre-eclampsia. The little girl weighed the same as a can of baked beans when she was born. 

"I became very unwell and continuing would have meant my life was at risk," explains Derval. "When she was born, the team resuscitated her, but I don't think they realised just how small she was."


Ailbhe at birth

Ailbhe at birth


Derval and her husband Conor were told Ailbhe had a slim chance of survival and she could be disabled.

“It was uncharted territory,' says mum Derval. "At 500g the team are confident they can do a good job, but they hadn’t worked with a baby as small as Ailbhe before, although they were amazing.

“She was extremely sick initially and they were very honest about her chance of surviving. Many children born as prematurely as Ailbhe live with catastrophic consequences physically and intellectually. 

“The first milestone was when she survived 24 hours and then when she survived a week. She was ventilated for the first ten weeks of her life,” said Derval.

But now, she's a fit and healthy little girl!



Ailbhe’s mum now says the four-year-old’s favourite hobby is to ride around her garden on her prized scooter, but Derval says she never forgets how lucky they are.

“Since having Ailbhe, I’ve become a part of this scene and I’ve met other mums with premature babies and I feel very lucky and fortunate.

“For whatever reason, she survived and doesn’t have any physical or intellectual deficits. She’s hit all her milestones."

Since her birth, Ailbhe has had surgery to repair a hole in her heart and has battled lung disease but she attends school and is a happy cheeky little girl.

"I never forget what a miracle she is," says Derval, "Ever."