A German baby girl, born at just 21 weeks and five days, has been released from the hospital and sent home with her parents after five months in neonatal care.
Named Frieda, the baby weighed only 1lb and measured 11 inches when she was born on November 7, 2010, at Fulda Children’s Hospital in Germany.
She is believed to be the most premature baby in Europe and possibly in the world to have survived. She shares the world record with James Elgin Gill who was also born 128 days early in Ottawa, Canada in 1987, reports the Daily Mail.
When doctors allowed her to go home last Wednesday, she weighed a far healthier 7lb 11oz and measured nearly 20 inches.
The clinic’s chief doctor, Reinald Repp, said he saw ‘no indication that she will not be healthy’ and described her survival as a ‘medical miracle.’ Sadly, her twin brother Kilian died six weeks after birth due to heart and intestinal problems.
"We are overjoyed. But the happiness feels strange, as we are sad at the same time. Kilian is in our thoughts every day,” Frieda’s parents Yvonne Mangold, 33, and her husband John, 38, a teacher, told the Fulder newspaper.
Yvonne started to suffer from complications when she was just 15 weeks pregnant. She was rushed to hospital at 20 weeks and two days after a doctor told her she was on the verge of going into labour during a routine check-up.
Medics managed to delay the birth for a further 10 days, before placing the tiny brother and sister in intensive care. "Professor Repp told us that his team would do everything for our children, but he could not promise anything,” said Yvonne.
Kilian died in December 2010 while Frieda’s life hung by a thread before she eventually pulled through.
"Frieda was kept in a completely sterile environment, with her breathing assisted and fed through her navel,” Dr. Repp told the Bild newspaper.