Premature baby is saved with a sandwich bag by quick-thinking medics

Premature baby born smaller than her mother’s hand at 27 weeks is saved with a sandwich bag by quick-thinking medics

  • Orla-May Rospo-Hughes weighed one pound when she was born last month
  • Parents Emily Rospo and Samantha Hughes were warned she might not survive 
  • Emily, 30, from Hitchin, had to have an emergency C-section at 27 weeks 
  • Orla-May was placed in a sandwich bag to help regulate her body temperature
  • She is in incubator after birth on January 28 but experts say she is doing well  

A premature baby who was smaller than her mother’s hand has survived being born 13 weeks early after quick-thinking medics saved her life with a sandwich bag. 

Orla-May Rospo-Hughes weighed just one pound when she was born last month after just 27 weeks of pregnancy.

Her parents Emily Rospo and Samantha Hughes, from Hitchin, Hertfordshire, were warned she may not survive.

Orla-May Rospo-Hughes weighed just one pound when she was born last month after just 27 weeks of pregnancy and was placed in a sandwich bag by quick-thinking medics after birth to help regulate her body temperature 

Emily, 30, had to undergo an emergency Caesarean section after being diagnosed with placenta insufficiency. 

The baby is now thriving after doctors saved her life by placing her in a sandwich bag to help regulate her body temperature after she was born.  

Orla-May is still in an incubator and is not yet as long as a PPE glove, but medics say she is now doing very well.  

Emily said: ‘We were told multiple times to prepare for the worst and that she was unlikely to make it.

Her parents Emily Rospo (right) and Samantha Hughes (left), from Hitchin, Hertfordshire, were warned she may not survive

The baby is now thriving after doctors saved her life by placing her in a sandwich bag to help regulate her body temperature after she was born

‘We had been trying for a baby for three years and had already been on a journey with IVF so to be told this, was devastating.

How can a sandwich bag save a premature baby?

Premature babies get cold very quickly because they are tiny and have under-developed skin and inadequate stores of subcutaneous fat to keep them warm.

Putting them into an ordinary food-quality plastic bag — it doesn’t even need to be sterile — has proved to be a simple but effective way of keeping their temperature stable. 

It stops moisture evaporating from the skin and provides a ‘greenhouse’ effect to keep the baby warm.

The technique was first described as far back as 1971 in a U.S. study, but it wasn’t until a further study in the late Nineties that interest ignited again. Now neo-natal units across the UK use the technique widely in the crucial first hours of life.

‘Nothing can prepare you for being told that your baby might not make it.

‘I was terrified and nervous but luckily my partner was allowed in the room with me so I had some support.

‘Despite being told her chances were slim, I kept a positive mindset and believing she was going to make it is what got me through.’ 

Despite being born at 27 weeks, Orla-May was measuring at just 22 weeks and was born on January 28, weighing 490g (1.08lbs). 

After being born, she was instantly put into a plastic sandwich bag to keep her warm while she was whisked away to the resuscitation room. 

Emily explained: ‘She was due on 27 April but I knew there were issues with my placenta meaning she wasn’t getting enough blood flow from 20 weeks.

‘They admitted me into hospital to monitor her heart rate and it was decreasing rapidly so I had to have an emergency c-section.

‘When she was born, they worked hard to get her breathing. They put a tube down her throat and put her into a plastic sandwich bag to make sure her temperature was up.

Emily, 30, had to undergo an emergency Caesarean section after being diagnosed with placenta insufficiency and, despite being born at 27 weeks, Orla-May measured at just 22 

‘I didn’t even get to see her before she was taken away; there was a lot going on in the room and I felt all sorts of emotions.

‘We knew they were trying their hardest to get her breathing and I felt lucky to have Samantha with me as I was terrified I might not be able to because of coronavirus. 

‘I was told that the sandwich bag was to keep her temperature up; I had never heard of it before.

‘Seeing her in there like that was scary – she was tiny. She’s smaller than the size of my hand. 

After being born, she was instantly put into a plastic sandwich bag to keep her warm while she was whisked away to the resuscitation room

‘We haven’t been able to hold her yet but we are allowed to touch her and be with her 24/7.

‘She’s staying at Luton and Dunstable hospital and the staff have been absolutely amazing.

‘We take each day as it comes; she has managed to put a little bit of weight on so we’re just trying to stay positive.’ 

Samantha added: ‘When we got a positive pregnancy test, we were over the moon and excited that after a long journey filled with ups and downs, our dream had finally come true.

Emily explained: ‘She was due on 27 April but I knew there were issues with my placenta meaning she wasn’t getting enough blood flow from 20 weeks’

Emily said: ‘We haven’t been able to hold her yet but we are allowed to touch her and be with her 24/7’

‘When it came to the day, doctors prepare you for the worst and it’s so hard to not feel negative and upset but for Emily’s sake, I tried to be supportive and positive for her.

‘I was so upset to see what Emily was going through. It felt like an eternity but when we heard that the baby was out, we both just kept our fingers crossed and waited to find out what was happening.

‘They asked me to cut the cord and I got to see our beautiful baby for the first time; I’ve never seen anything so tiny and fragile.

‘I know we have a long road ahead but I pray everyday that Orla-May will grow to be big and strong.’  

Samantha said: ‘They asked me to cut the cord and I got to see our beautiful baby for the first time; I’ve never seen anything so tiny and fragile’

Samantha said: ‘I was so upset to see what Emily was going through. It felt like an eternity but when we heard that the baby was out, we both just kept our fingers crossed and waited to find out what was happening’

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