Defying the odds! Miracle baby who was born born 13 weeks premature

Baby who was born 13 weeks premature and not breathing in a bathroom on his parents’ babymoon is thriving after surviving a bleed to the brain, E coli, collapsed lungs, two hernias and laser eye surgery

  • One-year-old Shea defies doctors’ predicitions after being born 13 weeks early
  • Megan, 23, and Michael, 22, were holidaying in Ireland, when he arrived
  • Shea had to stay in hospital for four-and-a-half months as he recovered

A miracle baby is lucky to be alive after being born premature at just 24 weeks old and weighing less than a bag of sugar during his parents’ babymoon.

Megan Kelly, 23, and her partner Michael Mcglinchey, 22, took a ‘relaxing’ coastal break in Ballyoonan, Ireland, on July 6 last year when she went into labour 13 weeks early.

First-time-mother Megan, from Belfast, Northern Ireland, made it into the bathroom before father Michael, who works as a steel fabricator, helped deliver baby Shea. 

However, Shea wasn’t breathing, forcing Megan and Michael to drive 20 minutes to meet an ambulance, with Megan performing CPR the whole way.

Megan Kelly, 23, (pictured) was holidaying in Ballyoonan, Ireland, on July 6 last year when she went into labour 13 weeks early

Along with her partner Michael Mcglinchey, 22, (pictured) the pair raced to meet an ambulance after Shea stopped breathing

The ambulance then rushed the trio to the Royal Jubilee Maternity hospital, in Belfast, where Shea remained for the next four-and-a-half months as he bought for his life. 

He underwent several life-saving operations in the first few months of his life and it was not expected that he would survive. 

Doctors even advised that Shea should be taken off of life-support, but Megan refused to give up on her child who battled his way back to full health. 

Shea left hospital on November 21 last year and now, aged 16 months, is a perfectly happy and healthy child. 

Shea (pictured) underwent several life-saving operations during the first months of his life and doctors predicted he would not survive

Former retail assistant Megan said the experience was terrifying.

‘I was looking forward to relaxing and getting some peace and quiet at the cottage on our babymoon and then all of a sudden I was in labour and before I knew it Shea was here,’ she said.

‘I was so scared in the car. I had to do CPR on him and I didn’t know if he would make it.

‘But he is a fighter. He battled everything he came up against and is now doing so well at home. It’s a miracle he survived. He is meant to be here.’

While on the way to meet the ambulance, Megan, while on the phone to emergency services, had to perform CPR on Shea

Megan had initially been told that what she thought were contractions were the result of a urinary infection, before she realised she was definitely feeling contractions

Megan said she had been having contractions only days before Shea arrived but she was assured my medics that they were the result of ‘a urinary infection’. 

After further sharp abdominal pains, Megan quickly realised she was definitely having contractions.

Megan said: ‘All of a sudden it started happening and I could feel the baby coming.

‘I had just stepped through the door of the cottage and barely sat down and started to feel uncomfortable.

‘I ran to the bathroom and started pushing there was no way I could hold him in. Michael was there with me and caught Shea as he fell out of me.

‘I saw him and he was so tiny. I was so scared he wouldn’t make it. He let out a faint cry, but then he stopped breathing and went blue and grey very quickly.’

Megan wrapped Shea in a blanket and rushed him out to the car with Michael – who drove them to Daisy Hill Hospital, in Newry, 20 minutes away.

She said: ‘We were on the phone to the emergency services and they were telling me how to do CPR.

At one point, doctors advised that life-support should be taken away from Shea, but Megan stayed resolute in her faith in Shea and his ability to recover

While in hospital, Shea got E coli and suffered collapsed lungs during an operation to remove a small bowel obstruction

‘Michael had to take over doing it as it was too hard when Shea still wasn’t breathing. I was so numb as I watched my son fighting to breathe.’

The couple met an ambulance and paramedics immediately put Shea on oxygen.

A team from the Royal Maternity Hospital in Belfast came to take over and, after rushing him to the maternity ward, put Shea on a ventilator.

Megan said: ‘A doctor came over to me and said that it wasn’t looking good, but said that Shea was really trying to live.

‘He was fighting from the start and screaming his little lungs out.’

Medics revealed two days later that Shea had suffered a grade four bleed to the brain and Megan was told he would have a poor quality of life ‘if’ he survived.

She added: ‘They told me it was the best thing for him to turn the machine off. I was torn. I didn’t want my baby to die, but I didn’t want him to have a bad life either.’

Megan ignored the advice and took a chance to see if Shea would make it against all the odds.

Shea is now a perfectly happy and healthy baby having recovered back to full health

Megan wasn’t able to hold Shea for two months because he was too delicate to touch

Later that day he miraculously started showing signs of improvement and the doctors were able to start trying to feed him through a tube.

But things went downhill again, when Shea got E coli, on Friday 12th July – nearly a week after he was born – and Megan was told the next 24 hours were ‘crucial’. 

Shea pulled through, but a month later on August 3rd, he had an operation for a small bowel obstruction, which he nearly didn’t survive.

The four-week-old’s lungs collapsed during the procedure and he went into cardiac arrest – but the brave tot managed to cling on.


Around 10 per cent of all pregnancies worldwide result in premature labour – defined as a delivery before 37 weeks.

When this happens, not all of the baby’s organs, including the heart and lungs, will have developed. They can also be underweight and smaller.

Tommy’s, a charity in the UK, says this can mean preemies ‘are not ready for life outside the womb’.  

Premature birth is the largest cause of neonatal mortality in the US and the UK, according to figures. 

Babies born early account for around 1,500 deaths each year in the UK. In the US, premature birth and its complications account for 17 per cent of infant deaths.

Babies born prematurely are often whisked away to neonatal intensive care units, where they are looked after around-the-clock.  

What are the chances of survival?

  • Less than 22 weeks is close to zero chance of survival
  • 22 weeks is around 10%
  • 24 weeks is around 60%
  • 27 weeks is around 89%
  • 31 weeks is around 95%
  • 34 weeks is equivalent to a baby born at full term

Megan said: ‘The surgeon said: “I have never seen anything like it. We thought he wasn’t going to make it, but he pulled through”.

‘He just came back again. It was amazing.

‘They were ready to give up on him after he went into cardiac arrest, but he was a little miracle and came back all by himself. I couldn’t believe it. I thought I had lost him.’

Shea stayed in hospital for four-and-a-half months and battled two hernias and had to have laser eye surgery to deal with retinopathy of prematurity (ROP).

Megan wasn’t able to hold her son for two months as he was too delicate to touch.

Despite being delayed developmentally, Shea, who is now one, is attempting to crawl around and sits up by himself.

‘It was amazing to take him home,’ Megan said.

‘He battled so much and it’s incredible that he made it. He’s doing so well and loves to watch ‘Iggle Piggle’.

‘He weighs 15lb 6oz now, and can’t even fit his first nappy round his ankle.

‘You wouldn’t really know anything had happened to him. He is the happiest, most bubbly baby, who loves to torture us.’

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