Christmas Day baby born 11 weeks early comes home to her excited Portsmouth parents

A baby born 11 weeks early on Christmas Day has been taken home by her delighted parents after spending two and a half months in hospital.
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Millie Richardson was born on December 25 to Stephanie Lorrabaquio and David Richardson. The Eastney couple have finally been able to bring the Christmas present home that they described as their "little miracle". Millie, nicknamed Millie Millie Christmas by staff at Queen Alexandra Hospital, was expected to be born early but arrived at 25 weeks and 3 days spending her first two months in an incubator.

Millie has progressed well and was able to leave hospital weeks ahead of schedule much to the delight of Stephanie. She said: "She is doing really well and it's just very nice for everything to be as it should. It's daunting, as you get used to her being in hospital and she is still really small. She was 1lb 9oz when she was born and she is now 4lb 10oz. She seems giant to us but she is still really small. Its a lot of adjustment for us but its just lovely, it just feels right."

Steph Lorrabaquio and Dave Richardson with their daughter, Millie, who was born three months early on Christmas Day. They were allowed to take her home on March 11thSteph Lorrabaquio and Dave Richardson with their daughter, Millie, who was born three months early on Christmas Day. They were allowed to take her home on March 11th
Steph Lorrabaquio and Dave Richardson with their daughter, Millie, who was born three months early on Christmas Day. They were allowed to take her home on March 11th
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It is a day that Stephanie has been waiting for but at times wondered if it would ever arrive. She added: "Even though we knew it was going to happen, you keep thinking it wont, you just been used to her being in hospital for so long. She is doing really well. We were really lucky that she progressed so well in hospital."

Looking back on the past few months there have been some tough days for Stephanie, balancing home and hospital life, while being limited to contact with Millie. She said: "I don't think I ever realised how difficult it would be. She was in an incubator until about three or four weeks ago, so we were limited in how much we could hold her. She could still come out for cuddles and she was tube fed for quite a while. Changing nappies was quite awkward in an incubator.

"The nurses said you don't have to be here all the time, save your energy for later when she is nearer to coming home, but I would be up there for about 13 hours a day because it just felt unnatural leaving your baby. I managed to reduce that to about eight to ten hours but some days I would be good and do three or four if I had to do things at home. Just to see that she was there and she was ok was really good. We were just on cloud nine that she was alright."

Millie Richardson went home on March 11 after being born 1 weeks early on Christmas Day.Millie Richardson went home on March 11 after being born 1 weeks early on Christmas Day.
Millie Richardson went home on March 11 after being born 1 weeks early on Christmas Day.

There was one constant throughout Millie's time at hospital that Stephanie is thankful for, and that is the standard of care that they received. Even beyond the fact that Millie was born 11 weeks early and the hospital were able to ensure she survived, it was the everyday acts of kindness and support that was so appreciated. Stephanie said: "They were incredible, I cant thank them enough for what they did. All the nurses, doctors, cleaners, consultants all of them put together is what makes it happen. They were such lovely people. There would be tough days and they would pick up on it and just see if you are ok.

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"They have all these charities that support as well, like Sophie's Legacy. They remember the dads as well and support a lot with their mental health because you get a lot of focus on mums and can forget this is a really big change for the dads as well."

Now that a major step has taken place in bringing Millie home, Stephanie is looking forward to introducing her to family and friends. She said: "In hospital you were only allowed two allocated people each, which was our parents, so only they have seen her. The biggest thing will be introducing her to family and friends. They are dying to meet her."

While a Merry Merry Christmas is sung in December, a Millie Millie Christmas is celebrated in March.

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