'She's a feisty one': Baby girl born three months early weighing just 1lb 12oz wins battle for survival
Isla had stopped growing in the womb at 25 weeks and measured just 11 inches long

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UPDATED:

13:01 GMT, 26 March 2012

A baby girl proved she was a born fighter when she let out three yelps and lifted her arm – even though she was delivered three months premature.

Isla Wilson had stopped growing in her mother’s womb 15 weeks early, weighed just 1lb 12oz and measured 11 inches from head to toe.

She was so underdeveloped she spent her first five months fighting for life in an incubator.

Isla when she was in intensive care. She was on and off life support three times during her five month stay in hospital

Fighter: Isla when she was in intensive care. She was on and off life support three times during her five month stay in hospital

Doctors had to battle to restart Isla's heart when she was four days old.

She also suffered a bleed to her brain, was on a ventilator for almost a month and needed three blood transfusions.

But despite being one of the smallest babies to be born in Scotland, her incredible actions reassured her worried parents, Julie and Steven, that their daughter was determined to live.

Now aged 19 months, and against all odds, Isla, is like any other happy-go-lucky toddler, who loves being on her feet.

She still needs oxygen as her lungs continue to develop, but doctors are hopeful she will be off all breathing aids by this summer.

Isla is now learning to walk, talk and explore. She still needs oxygen but is expected to be off all breathing aids by this summer

Isla is now learning to walk, talk and explore. She still needs oxygen but is expected to be off all breathing aids by this summer

Mrs Wilson, 32, from Newtonhill, Aberdeenshire, said: 'We just feel so lucky still to have her.

'In the beginning we couldn’t get past the next hour, then it was the next week and the next month. But as time went on and she got bigger we got more confident that she was going to survive.

'Things like her first smile, and even when she started bottle feeding, were all things we thought we would never see.

'We were too scared to think about it because we didn’t want to get our hopes up, in case something happened.

'Now her laugh is the best thing in the world. She’s such a lovely, happy wee thing.'

Mrs Wilson, an occupational therapist, had gone to work as normal the day Isla was born.

She
had a growth scan that afternoon and was expecting to return to work.
But doctors discovered Isla had stopped growing just 25 weeks into her
mother's pregnancy due to a rare complication and was essentially
starving to death.

So Isla was delivered by emergency caesarean section that evening 11 weeks early.

Now: Isla with her delighted mother Julie and father Steven

Now: Isla with her delighted mother Julie and father Steven. They say she is now full of energy

Mrs Wilson said: 'It was such a shock. Isla’s heart rate dropped and she stopped moving. They just needed to get her out of me.

'It was terrifying because we had no control over the situation.

'But the first time we got to see her about five hours after she was born, the nurse said, ‘you’ve got a feisty one there‘.

'If she hadn’t had that fight in her, I don’t think she would be here now.'

To recognise Isla’s amazing courage and lust for life, she recently received a Build-A-Bear Workshop Champion Children Award at the Tommy’s Lets Get Friendly Baby Awards in London.

Mrs Wilson and her husband, a courier, were warned not expect their baby to cry when she was born at 29 weeks, as her lungs were so underdeveloped.

But Mrs Wilson said: 'She let out three little squawks like a cat’s meow and she opened half and eye and lifted an arm. It was quite reassuring, but we never heard her make another noise until weeks after.'

Isla had to be fully ventilated three times during her five months in Aberdeen Maternity Hospital and given steroids to help her lungs mature.

The first attempt to take her off life support was made when she was four days old. But, struggling for breath, she had to be re-ventilated and following complications, Isla went into cardiac arrest and doctors had to battle to re-start her heart.

Mrs Wilson, who had to wait 16 days before she got to hold her newborn, said: 'We were petrified. She was just so tiny. All your instincts are to protect your child. If she cried, I just wanted to pick her up but we couldn’t because of all the wires and tubes.

'She could hardly move her limbs because she had so many needles in them.'

But Mrs Wilson said when she did eventually get to hug Isla, it was the “best cuddle ever”.

'She was inside my top and she just settled down and fell asleep. I just sat there with a big grin on my face.'

Steven with daughter Isla

Steven with daughter Isla. He and wife Julie have made a pact 'not to worry about insignificant little things'

When she was born her head was smaller than the palm of her mother’s hand and from head to toe she measured only the length of a classroom ruler.

Doctors warned Mr and Mrs Wilson that because she needed steroids at such a young age and her brain had been starved of oxygen as a result of being on and off the ventilator, there was a chance it would affect her development.

But against all odds, Isla is now learning to walk, talk and explore like any inquisitive toddler.

'You can see her developing, which is great,' said Mrs Wilson.

'She is really bright. She loves being on her feet, she’s active and into everything. Out of all her toys, she’ll pick out her books.

'She wakes up smiling and laughing.

'As a first child she is always going to be special, but even more so now.
I can’t praise the neonatal staff enough. They worked so hard and if it wasn’t for their care and expertise Isla wouldn’t be here today.'

Mrs Wilson said she and Isla’s dad have now made a pact 'not to worry about insignificant little things because life is just too precious.'