A couple after suffering through five miscarriages, believe they have a miracle at hand. Trupti and Santosh Mhabrey's daughter, Baby Sakshi, is the most premature baby to survive in India, say doctors who nursed the child for four-and-a-half months in a neonate intensive care unit.
Baby Sakshi, born at 23 weeks of gestation on May 5, at barely 460gm, weighed much less than an iPad. She was about 30cms from head to toe doctors were worried about transferring her from the delivery room to the NICU in the usual incubator. Baby Sakshi belongs "micro-preemies'' group as they weigh less than 900gm. "After talking to our peers and checking medical literature, we believe Baby Sakshi is the most premature baby to survive in India,'' said Surya Hospital's Dr Bhupendra Avasthi. from the delivery room to the NICU in the usual incubator.
"Even developed countries would not revive babies premature than this, since the chances of survival and normal development are bleak,'' said his colleague, Dr Nandkishore Kabra. A fetus can survive outside the mother's womb at around 22-24 weeks of pregnancy. But given the battle between pro-life and anti-abortion factions, many countries do not allow abortions beyond 14 weeks of pregnancy.
Dr Ruchi Nanavati, who heads the neonatology department of KEM Hospital, said, "I cannot say if this is indeed the first 23-weeker to survive in India, but it is admirable that a 460gm baby survived.'' Dr Jayshree Mondkar, who heads the neonatology department at Sion Hospital, said, "She is likely to be among the few born under 25 weeks to look forward to a discharge from the NICU.''
The couple was married for 12 years and Trupti suffered five miscarriages. "I left my job two years back as I underwent IVF treatment,'' said Trupti. Yet on the day after their 12th wedding anniversary on May 1, she suffered bleeding. Her gynecologist conducted tests that indicated that the baby could be born any moment. "We were advised to go to Surya Hospital as it has a maternity ward as well as an NICU,'' said Santosh.
Baby Sakshi was born on the night of May 5. In the following months, she survived immature lungs, infection, bleeding in the brain, poor growth, drops in hemoglobin and fragile bones. "We could not touch her as her skin would tear instantly,'' said Dr Hari. "It has taken over 85,000 person hours of hard work to see Sakshi get to 1.9kg and take feeds orally without oxygen,'' said Dr Kabra.