There are very few things more fascinating than childbirth. The process of bringing a baby into the world, having carried them carefully for nine months, is one that leaves people in awe on a daily basis.
However, there are few births as incredible as that of Manushi, who was born 12 weeks prematurely, weighing a shocking 0.4kg (0.8lbs) – the average weight of a healthy baby born at full term is usually somewhere between 2.7 and 4.1kg (6-9lbs).
Yet despite her highly concerning weight, which saw doctors give her a 0.5% chance of survival, Manushi is now six-months-old and finally able to leave the hospital where she has so far spent her whole life.
Manushi’s traumatic birth came unexpectedly on June 15 after her mother, 48-year-old Seeta’s blood pressure began to dramatically rise. Concerned for the health of mother and baby, doctors did an ultrasound which revealed an absence of blood flow to the fetus.
With little time to act, doctors chose to deliver the baby 12 weeks early by C-section at a hospital in Rajasthan, India. It was thought highly unlikely that the baby would survive the ordeal, but Manushi was evidently meant to be for this world as she managed to breathe independently – albeit with difficulty.
At the time of her forced birth, Manushi’s brain, kidney, lungs and heart were underdeveloped, meaning that she had to be quickly moved to a ventilator to help keep her organs functioning. Her paper-thin skin was also a concern for doctors who were sure she wouldn’t survive the traumatic events.
At just 8.6 inches, Manushi’s tiny frame was incredibly fragile and required extra attention from medical professionals. “She was struggling to breathe, so was immediately put on advanced respiratory support ventilator to expand her tiny, immature lungs,” said Dr. Sunil Janged.
“We had to start the baby on total parenteral nutrition, which basically means giving all the essential nutrients such as amino acids, carbohydrates, minerals and multivitamins directly into blood circulation [sic].”
Due to Manushi’s intense medical needs, the bill for her care reached Rs 1,000,000 ($15,746), which was fortunately covered by the hospital due to Manushi’s parent’s low income.
“We decided to save the life of the baby and offer her necessary medical care and attention because we wanted to send out a message that a girl child must be protected,” Dr. Janged explained. “In a state like Rajasthan where female infanticide is rampant, people have to come forward and take [a] step to end this evil practice.”
Manushi, who is now six-months-old, was discharged from the hospital this month and is believed to be developing normally.
There is no doubt that the tiny tot will require further medical assistance, but in the meantime, she appears to be happy and healthy.
We wish Manushi and her family all the best for the future, although after her incredible birth it would appear that Manushi doesn’t need any good luck as she evidently has plenty!