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Home / News / Culture Watch / Parents reject doctors’ suggestion; preemie born 3 months early defies odds and is home for Christmas

Parents reject doctors’ suggestion; preemie born 3 months early defies odds and is home for Christmas

By definition, when a micro-preemie survives and thrives it is a miracle. The hurdles and obstacles and potential problems are substantial.

But even by that standard, Layla Daly’s arrival home in time for Christmas after 115 days in the hospital is amazing.

It’s not just that she was born three months premature, weighing only 1 pound, nine ounces; or that doctors told parents Vicky Russell and Scott Daly that Russell should undergo a late term abortion because her unborn daughter had a fatal liver problem.

Once her parents said a firm no, Layla was delivered by emergency C-Section on July 28, after Russell developed an infection that threatened the life of the baby. Doctors told the couple that Layla (born at 26 weeks) “might not survive.”

“I wasn’t allowed to see Layla for five hours while they stabilized her,” Russell said. “When I saw her, I was able to reach in and touch her, but I was very scared. I have never felt so much love in my life until I laid my eyes on my miracle daughter.”

At three weeks old, Layla contracted “a life-threatening infection, necrotising enterocolitis (NEC), which caused part of her bowel to die,” according to the Daily Mail’s Charlie Moore. She underwent emergency surgery and along the way Layla endured 11 blood transfusions.

And then, after surviving all that, Layla contracted a deadly infection sepsis.

But Layla is an amazing child: the baby born smaller than her dad’s hand was discharged November 21 in time for the holiday season.

‘And to be able to bring her home in time for her first Christmas is just magical,” Russell told Moore. It’s like all our Christmases have come at once.

“I was so excited to have her home but at the same time petrified as for the last three months she had been hooked up to monitors. I was scared I wouldn’t know if she was OK without them.

“After a long time in hospital you sort of rely on the monitors to tell you when there is something wrong with your baby. You get used to them, so I was a bit freaked out when she didn’t have them. But I’ve calmed down a lot now and I just need to trust my instincts.”

So what’s planned? “We plan on starting a family tradition and going for a nice walk every Christmas morning.”


  • By Dave Andrusko
  • Photo credit: Tom Wren | SWNS.com