Parents of miracle Milton Keynes baby see her face for the first time since she was born three months ago

Tiny Lily was born weighing just 15oz has defied all the odds to survive

By Sally Murrer
Tuesday, 18th January 2022, 3:11 pm
Updated Tuesday, 18th January 2022, 3:12 pm

This is the face of miracle baby Lily Bickerdike-Guile, who is one of the smallest born babies to survive in the UK.

The tiny tot weighed just 15oz - almost the same as a can of soup - when she was born more than 16 weeks prematurely at Oxford's John Radcliffe hospital last October.

She was one of twins and sadly identical twin Daisy lost her battle for survival when she was two weeks old.

Lily's lovely face could be seen for the first time this week

But Lily, who was the smaller twin, has astounded doctors with her progress. She has now more than trebled her birth weight and tops 3lb 6oz on the scales.

She was last month moved been moved MK Hospital's neonatal unit, where mum Cheryl Guile and dad Ray Bickerdale have been allowed regular cuddles. At first they were not allowed to touch their daughter, as her skin was as fragile as tissue paper. And her hand was the same size as an adult fingernail.

The couple had never even fully seen their daughter's face because it had always been covered in tubes connected to the machines that help her breathe and feed.

But Lily is now breathing with the minimum help of added oxygen and taking many of her feeds from a bottle. This means she can finally spend short periods tube free.

Shortly after birth, almost 13 weeks ago

"Today is the first time we have fully seen her beautiful little face," said Cheryl this week. "She is so precious."

Aged 38, Cheryl has three other children at her Wolverton home as well as a grown-up daughter and grandchild. She found out she was unexpectedly pregnant with twins on her granddaughter Summer's first birthday.

Once we got over the shock, we were over the moon," she said.

An emergency C-Section was carried out when Chery was 23 weeks and four days pregnant. Doctors decided the babies were safer out than in after her waters broke and tests showed signs of an infection.

Lily can now take many of her feeds from a bottle

The twins, partiuclarly Lily, were even smaller than expected for dates and first doctors gave them a 20% chance of survival. They have been astounded by Lily's progress.

"She’s smashing every goal possible. She’s a true miracle baby, tougher than anyone we have ever known," said Cheryl. "Soon she will soon be able to go into a normal cot and then it won’t be long until she will be home with us."

The smallest baby to survive in the UK is thought to be tiny Hannah Stibbles, who weighed 11oz when she was born in Scotland in December. Mum Ellie Paton, 17, was 25 weeks pregnant.

According to Guinness World Records, the smallest ever surviving baby is Kwek Yu Xuan, who wasborn 15 weeks early in Singapore in June 2020 - weighing just 7.48 oz.

Proud parents Ray and Cheryl

She was only 24 cm (9.5 in) long and weighed about the same as an apple. At first, the doctors at the hospital gave her "limited chance of survival" but, after 13 months in hospital, she has now been discharged.