Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Saturday 31 July |
Saint of the Day: St. Ignatius Loyola
home iconInspiring Stories
line break icon

Baby born at 23 weeks is defying the odds


Kristina Bessolova | Shutterstock

Patty Knap - published on 06/29/20

Doctors gave Oliver-Cash Lowther-Ryan a 3% chance of surviving.

On March 26 tiny Oliver-Cash Lowther-Ryan was born after just 23 weeks in Kent, England during the coronavirus pandemic.  He weighed a little more than one pound, and had only a 3% chance of survival because of life threatening issues.
“Whilst I was in labour a doctor told me that he only had a three percent chance of survival,” said his mother Frances, reported The Mirror.
Oliver seemed to be doing fine at first, but two weeks later his condition deteriorated rapidly, with bowel problems, bleeds on the brain and lungs, collapsed lungs, and heart problems.
One of the hardest things for Ethan and father Frances was not being able to hold their son for the first nine weeks.
“It was so, so difficult not being able to hold him but the moment I was allowed was the most incredible moment of my life. Words can’t really describe it. It was just amazing to be able to touch and hold after so long,” Frances said. “The emotions I felt were so overwhelming. I felt like crying but I was also completely overjoyed.”
Because of the coronavirus restrictions, his parents couldn’t visit him together, so they took turns.
“I bought a new shirt so that I could easily put him on my chest to do skin to skin and it was an emotional moment. … the wave of love for him I felt at that moment was amazing,” he said.
Oliver still is in St. Thomas’ Hospital in London, but with his condition improving rapidly, he may be well enough to go home in July, according to The Christian Institute.
“He is an amazing fighter and he’s got the nickname of Rocky because he won’t stay down,” his father said. “We’re so proud of him to have come through all the challenges he has faced so far.”
The youngest recorded premature baby is Jemarius Jachin Harbor Jr. The Georgia infant was born at 21 weeks, zero days gestation in December – beating the previous record-holder by four days.
Recent studies in the New England Journal of Medicine have found that more premature infants are surviving at 22 of pregnancy.
Meanwhile, abortions are still legal for any reason up to 24 weeks in England as well as many U.S. states.
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Cerith Gardiner
Gold-winning Filipina Olympian shares her Miraculous Medal for th...
Cerith Gardiner
Simone Biles leaves the Olympics with an important lesson for her...
Zelda Caldwell
World-record winning gymnast Simone Biles leans on her Catholic f...
J-P Mauro
Reconstructing a 12th-century pipe organ discovered in the Holy L...
Mathilde De Robien
Did you know Princess Di was buried with a rosary?
Zelda Caldwell
German women’s gymnastics teams modest dress protests sport’s ...
Lauren Daigle
J-P Mauro
After 3 years Lauren Daigle ousts herself from #1 Billboard spot
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.