The extraordinary progress of Cork baby Frankie, who weighed just 1lb 3oz when he was born 12 weeks premature in Cork University Maternity Hospital last year, is captured in the RTÉ series From Here to Maternity.
The observational series reveals how Frankie’s mother, Anna Rozewicz, was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, and was due to have her ovaries removed as part of her treatment when she became pregnant with him.
Anna said she was very shocked at his tiny size when he was born at just 28 weeks into her pregnancy.
She said: “Frankie was extremely small and extremely sick when I saw him for the first time. It was horrible because I couldn’t imagine how small he could be. I cried all day.”
His dad, Leszek Wysocki, poignantly revealed how he had asked the midwives to take a picture of him with his son in the minutes after the birth, as he was afraid his tiny son might not survive.
He said: “Just after delivery the nurse took a picture with me for Anna because we didn’t know if Frankie would survive.”
Anna and Leszek, who are originally from Poland but live in Cloyne, Co Cork, told how their eight-month-old baby now weighs almost nine pounds after months of setbacks and triumphs.
Leszek said they felt blessed that Anna became pregnant and gave birth to Frankie on Jan 10 this year, as it was their only shot to have a baby due to her impending surgery.
He said: “One day Anna told me even if Frankie would not survive she was happy because she had a chance to be pregnant. We had just one chance. We didn’t expect it would happen.”
Consultant neonatologist Dr Liam O’Connell said the tiny baby had a tough battle to survive such a premature birth. “At his birth weight, his risks were very significant that hecertainly may not have survived.
“He has had quite a challenging time in hospital, but thankfully we’re now at the point where he is ready to go home and hopefully take the next step.”
“It was a huge day the first day he began to breathe oxygen like an adult person,” said Anna.
“I dreamed of coming home and no more monitors and levels of oxygen and scans; a normal life like everybody.”
From Here to Maternity is on RTÉ One tomorrow at 8.30pm.