There are premature babies born all the time. Some though, are true miracles. Take a wee little girl from Rajasthan, India named Manushi. She was born 12 weeks early and weighed just 0.88lb, the size of a big Cadbury chocolate bar. Doctors gave her a 0.5 chance of surviving without brain damage. If you have a hard time picturing how small she was, one of her feet is the size of her father’s thumbnail. She measured only 8.6 inches long and is thought to be the smallest baby to be born in Asia.
At birth, little Manushi wasn’t breathing. Her skin was paper thin and her organs underdeveloped. Six months on, she’s being discharged from hospital. She only weighs just 5.2lbs, and she appears intellectually normal
Manushi’s mother, Seeta, 48, suffered from dangerously high blood pressure during her pregnancy. During a routine ultrasound, doctors discovered the fetus wasn’t receiving blood flow. To save the life of her child, at just 28 weeks, Seeta underwent an emergency c-section. After delivering the baby girl, she was placed on a ventilator and transferred to Jivanta Children’s Hospital NICU.
Dr. Janged, hospital director at Jivanta Children’s Hospital NICU, said: ‘When the baby was born, we were uncertain of what could happen.
‘She was struggling to breathe, so was immediately put on advanced respiratory support ventilator to expand her tiny, immature lungs.
‘She could not be fed adequately due to immaturity of her gut.
‘We had to start the baby on total parenteral nutrition, which basically means giving all the essential nutrients, such as amino acids, lipids, carbohydrates, minerals, multivitamins and trace elements, directly into blood circulation.’
The first few days of Manushi’s life were touch-and-go. She lost weight. After seven weeks, she started taking milk on her own. She had blood transfusions, and her respiratory support was temporarily turned off. She held her breath during her sleep.
Seeta, and father Giriraj, 50, said: ‘She’s just fought and fought and fought against all the odds, but she’s made it.’
To treat Manushi’s various medical issues, it would cost 1,000,000 rupees – around £11,500. These costs were slashed significantly because of the family’s low income. the hospital also wanted to send a message to the community about the importance of not discarding little girls.
Dr. Sunil Janged said: ‘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.
‘In a state like Rajasthan where female infanticide is rampant, people have to come forward and take step to end this evil practice.’
Dr. Ajay Gambhir, former president of National Neonatology Forum of India, added: ‘We are grateful to Seeta and her family. We appreciate them for setting a new example to the community.
‘In Rajasthan, the girls [like this] are still considered a burden, and are thrown in the trash immediately after birth or are left in the orphanage.
‘Seeta and the hospital staff treated this baby girl, despite her having negligible chance of survival..’
Hooray for the doctors for fighting to end female infanticide. It’s an unacceptable practice. Innocent lives are snuffed out without even having a chance. With everything stacked against her, I’m glad Manushi is one of the lucky ones.