Baby born at 22 weeks weighed 14 ounces and is now 6 months old


  • It wasn’t until four months before her due date that Cat Gomez was pregnant with very standard twins.
  • A smaller set of twins were born at 22 weeks.
  • Oliver survived and was born weighing 14 ounces, less than a can of beans.

As Cat Gomez took her young son for a walk, people stopped to ask him how old he was. He weighs 8 pounds 5 ounces and looks like a newborn, but Oliver is over 6 months old.

He was one of the first babies ever born in the UK and is a vivid demonstration of how advances in medicine have given very early arrivals a chance at life.

At 22 weeks and 3 days pregnant, Oliver weighed 14 ounces—less than a can of beans.

Doctors warned his parents that their little premature baby’s chances of surviving were as small as his, but his will to survive was huge.

He was especially precious to Gomez and her fiancé Tom Longstaff, as Oliver’s identical twin brother Joseph lived only four days.

“We were prepared for the worst, but Oliver had a lot of fights,” Gomez told Insider. “We couldn’t be more proud.”

Scans show one twin is smaller than the other

The couple, from York, England, were surprised but delighted when they found out they were carrying twins in the fall.

Pregnancy was textbook until Gomez fell ill more than four months before her due date. Scans showed Oliver was smaller than his brother and their amniotic sac may be leaking. The mother was taken to hospital, where two cots are available for neonatal intensive care, but the outlook is bleak.

UK neonatologist not recommending life-saving treatment for babies until 2019 Born 23 weeks ago Because this is considered to be beyond the “survival threshold” for the fetus to live outside the womb.

It’s also very rare to be born alive this early — just 0.15% of live births in the UK before 24 weeks.

“One expert told us that the survival rate for singleton pregnancies born at 22 weeks is very low. Since they are twins, there is little chance of that,” Longstaff, 33, told Insider.

Twins born 12 minutes apart

Gomez gave birth at the Royal Preston Hospital in Lancashire on January 13. Oliver was born first, Joseph was born 12 minutes later.

There is only one other baby, one named Stella Haigwas born prematurely in the hospital, but she was 3 ounces heavier than Oliver and was a pregnancy.

“The boys were taken to intensive care in plastic bags to keep them warm and moist,” Gomez said. “I needed surgery because my placenta wouldn’t fall off and I was bleeding a lot. But I Scared because I was in the operating room and I didn’t have the chance to see the boy alive.”

Cats Gomez and Tom Longstaff and their sons Joseph and Oliver

Gomez and Longstaff with their sons Joseph and Oliver.

Courtesy of Cat Gomez and Tom Longstaff


For the father, it was a shock to see them because the baby’s skin is transparent.

“It’s a miracle that they were born alive, but without any false hope. We decided to spend as much time with them as possible,” Longstaff said.

Although Oliver is the smaller twin, he has fewer complications. Joseph weighed 2 ounces, but the cerebral hemorrhage was grade 4. Doctors said he would be severely disabled if he survived. His parents felt the most loving option was to withdraw his care.

“We caught Joseph for the first and last time,” Gomez said. “The hospital had a photographer for us and they managed to transfer him to Oliver’s incubator. We got a picture of them holding hands.”

Joseph soon died in her arms.

There is no time for grief. They need to take care of Oliver.

Heartbroken parents who have little time for grief focus on changing ‘tea bag-sized’ diapers and injecting Oliver’s breast milk. When he was 1 week old, his mother said she had her “special” first hug.

“When I first held Joseph, he was dying,” Gomez said. “It’s so nice to hold Oliver for a happy reason.”

Oliver is as young as his lover

Oliver is as small as his stuffed toy.

Courtesy of Cat Gomez and Tom Longstaff


The little baby spent 132 days in the hospital, learning to breathe independently and receiving 12 blood transfusions. When he was 15 weeks old, he also needed laser eye surgery and bilateral hernia surgery.

On May 25, nine days after her due date, Oliver was strong enough to go home. According to the British Association of Perinatal Medicine, a third of babies born before 24 weeks are disabled. But Oliver had few lasting health or developmental problems and had recently stopped taking oxygen.

“He’s starting to laugh more now — we’re waiting for the first laugh,” Longstaff said.

His parents’ joy is tempered by the thought of their lost child, Joseph.

“We’ve put off grief — we have to present Oliver,” Longstaff said.

Oliver is smiling for his parents

Oliver smiles for his parents.

cat gomez and tom longstaff


Because the boys are the same, the couple will see Joseph grow old with Oliver. While they were happy for Oliver’s milestone, they were heartbroken without his twin by his side.

“I always wondered what Joseph’s character would look like,” Gomez said.

The couple hope Oliver’s story will give hope to other parents of very premature babies.

“We’ll be forever grateful for these changes suggested to help babies under 23 weeks and the doctor giving him a chance,” Gomez said.



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