Caring Decisions

Milly’s story

  • Milly was born at 24 weeks gestation, 4 months premature, weighing 650g. Her mother, Julia, had had 5 cycles of IVF over 3 years. At 20 weeks of the pregnancy, she had an emergency stitch in the cervix to try to prevent Milly coming early. They were able to delay her arrival by a few weeks. Before she was born, Julia had talked with the doctors about her chances.


    "They had given us statistics about her chance of dying, or of being severely disabled. But when they broke my waters they found that I had an infection. When she was born Milly was a lot sicker than they had anticipated."

    Julia and her husband talked with the doctors about Milly's treatment.

    "They said that she was on a lot of medications, for blood pressure, antibiotics. They told us that she had a less than 10% chance of surviving. They said 'You know we can try and do all these things…or we can let nature take its course"

    After all that they had been through Julia felt that they couldn't stop treatment.

    "We were pretty desperate, just willing and hoping [for her to pull through]…We thought that we would try anything that we could…we'll give this little person every chance…It was a mix of shock, denial, stubbornness I guess."

    Julia and her husband decided to continue treatment, though they talked with the doctors about making a different decision if Milly developed a serious problem such as bleeding in her brain. Milly overcame 3 episodes of severe infection, major surgery, collapsed lungs, a heart problem. She had over 10 blood transfusions.

    "We were told 3 times to prepare for the worst but each time she pulled through. It was a gut wrenching 180 days in NICU and I wouldn't wish it on anyone."

    Milly survived to make it home and is now 3 years old without major complications from her prematurity.