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Nation’s smallest preemie now a healthy teenager

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Mother resisted pressure to abort; her daughter has thrived.

Born three months premature and weighing only 12 ounces, Aaliyah Hart was the smallest baby ever born in the United Kingdom—her tiny body fit in the palm of her mother’s hand—and her future looked bleak at first. Doctors gave her a one percent chance of survival.

“I couldn’t believe that something so small could survive,” her mother recalled.

When it became clear in the 18th week of pregnancy that unborn Aaliyah would face significant health problems, doctors encouraged her mother Lorraine to abort her. Even if she did survive the pregnancy, they reasoned, the tiny child would face significant health problems. But Lorraine refused to listen.

“I was determined to continue the pregnancy because I had struggled to conceive and was close to having IVF,” Lorraine explained here.

It turned out that her little girl was destined to beat the odds. Since her birth on May 17, 2003, Aaliyah grew and developed normally, to everyone’s astonishment. She was able to attend school when the time came, and now at age 14, you would never guess her early struggles. In fact, she is so healthy and strong that she serves as captain of her school’s football (soccer) team. Aaliyah’s incredible story gives hope to parents of preemies everywhere, and inspiration to all of us.

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