Baby who was so premature she was put in a sandwich bag celebrates 1st birthday

Dali-Grey from West Bridgford spent weeks in hospital Credit: BPM Meida

A little girl who was born at 23 weeks and one day is celebrating her first birthday.

Little Dali-Grey Woodgates from West Bridgford became one of the UK's most premature babies when she was born weighing just 1.2lbs.

Medical staff put her in a plastic sandwich bag to keep her warm as material would have damaged her fragile, translucent skin.

Her first nappy was about the size of a McDonald's ketchup sachet.

Her nappy was the size of a ketchup sachet Credit: BPM Media

Now she is 13-months-old, weighs just over 19lbs, and breathes independently.

Her mum, Bryony, 30, said: "I don't think there's an hour that goes past that I don't look at her and think that she is a miracle. In the truest sense of the word, she is just a miracle."She's 13 months old but she has a corrected age of nine months and she has no development concerns, she's just smaller.

"She's a little angel. She sleeps like a dream, eats well, she's just a really happy baby, she is just so chilled. She never really grumbles or fusses."She's nearly crawling. She does all the things a nine-month-old baby should be doing. She's amazing. To look at her you'd never known she'd been through all of that."When first admitted to the City Hospital on January 17, 2022, staff feared Bryony was having a late miscarriage as she wasn't due to give birth until mid-May. Bryony and husband Mike were warned if their baby survived she could be severely disabled and in need of round-the-clock care.

They were given the option of ending the pregnancy, which they refused.

Dali was born in the amniotic sac on January 21, 2022 - more than three months early.

"There must have been at least ten people in the room, they were all completely silent. It was a very grave situation, not like the happy occasion, 'congratulations she's here'.

"It was just silence and waiting to see if she was alive and what condition she was in," said Bryony."Then we heard the tiniest, tiniest little sound. It wasn't even a cry, more of a tiny squeak. It was like a film. Everyone just went nuts and they were 'she's alive, she's breathing, let's get her on the ventilator'.

She was in the hospital for more than 150 days Credit: BPM Media

"She was so tiny. I wasn't allowed to hold her because she was too fragile which was so painful. They held her in front of me for about five seconds, look this is your baby, and then they worked on getting her incubated."They put her in a sandwich bag because it was the only thing that would keep her warm because her skin was so delicate and see-through - you could see her heart beating - any fabric would stick to her. Her eyes were still fused together. They said the first 24 hours are really, really critical, so they took her to the neonatal intensive care unit.

"She was the tiniest baby I'd ever seen. It didn't seem real. She didn't look like a baby. She looked like a tiny sparrow when they're first born, like a little alien."The chance of survival was put at just three percent.

Dali-Grey spent 169 days on the neonatal intensive care unit, during which she needed bowel surgery, had 30 blood transfusions, contracted sepsis several times and suffered two brain haemorrhages.

She stopped breathing and turned blue - at one point this was happening 15 times an hour so she had to be put back on a ventilator. She finally came off the ventilator on her due date, May 19.On June 27, Dali was allowed to go home.

Dali-Grey with her family Credit: BPM Media

Bryony said: "All the doctors came round to say goodbye, everyone cried. Consultants, nurses, surgeons. Everyone came out into the corridor and clapped. It was such a huge moment after that long. These people are your family by that point."You have so much love for them and they loved Dali and they loved you. They have saved your baby's life on a daily basis and you are together for so long. It's a real mixed bag of emotions as you are so relieved to have your baby home but you know it's not the end of the road - it's just a milestone.

"The first couple of months were difficult and when you are so institutionalised from being in the unit for that long there's so much anxiety... I was terrified permanently."Anjum Deorukhkar, consultant neonatologist at Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) NHS Trust, said: “Very few babies survive at that extremes of gestational age and amongst them even fewer when they need complex surgery and are complicated with difficult ongoing lung disease.

“Dali-Grey has really done very well considering all this and moreover her brain scans were reported to be normal too. Her development is now at par with expected for age.“Dali-Grey is an excellent example of superb teamwork and dedication – credit should go to nurses, surgeons, dietician, anaesthetists, speech and language therapists, pharmacists, and so many more colleagues who have been involved in Dali-Grey’s care.”