WHEN Annabel Hately was born, she was no bigger than a Biro pen.
The tiny tot needed to be delivered by caesarean section after she stopped growing in the womb.
She was born weighing just 1lb and 5oz.
But today, Annabel is celebrating her first birthday.
Mum Rachael wants to say thanks to the hospital unit that helped save Annabel’s life.
Rachael, of Goldsmith Avenue, Southsea, said: ‘When I had my 20-week scan, they measured her limbs and said from the start she was very small.
‘They said if she didn’t get to a certain weight she would be terminated.
‘She didn’t have a chance of surviving, if she didn’t reach a pound in weight.
‘I started eating more to pile on the weight, but my placenta wasn’t feeding her.’
At 27 weeks, doctors at Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham, decided Rachael needed a C-section to give Annabel a chance at life.
She stayed in the neonatal intensive care unit (Nicu) for eight weeks.
‘The team in Nicu were absolutely fantastic,’ said Rachael, an NHS researcher.
‘Annabel was a tiny, little thing. We have a photo of her and she was as big as a Biro.
‘Once she was born she started feeding straight away. She took on everything given to her.
‘People can’t believe the transformation – she’s completely fun.’
To celebrate turning one, Annabel is having a party with her friends and family.
Rachael, 40, and her husband Neil, 41, a civil servant, have one other daughter.
Eleanor, now five, had a normal birth.
Rachael added: ‘We didn’t have any problems with Eleanor, so we were surprised at what happened last year.
‘We want to say thank you to the Nicu, because they helped us so much.’
The Nicu looks after premature babies.
Dr Charlotte Groves, consultant neonatologist at QA, said: ‘It’s lovely to see Annabel is thriving following her premature start to life.
‘She was born 11 weeks early weighing only 618g, and was one of 61 babies weighing less than 1kg that were cared for on the neonatal unit at QA in 2012.
‘It’s always gratifying to receive positive feedback from parents regarding the care their baby received while on the neonatal unit, as having a small premature baby in a neonatal intensive care unit is often a very stressful.’