Lexie Slater

When Lexie Slater-Folksman was born at 23 weeks  -  an age at which babies can still be aborted  -  she weighed just 1lb 8oz. She was put on a life support machine and her parents were warned their daughter might not pull through.

She was so premature her eyes hadn't even developed properly. At a month old she underwent laser surgery on her eyes and then spent week after week on ventilator machines after she suffered collapsed lungs.

But Lexie defied the odds and gradually gained strength.

Now, six months after her birth, she weighs a healthy 8lb and has finally been allowed home, to the joy and relief of her parents, 20-year-old Sarah Slater and her fiance Richard Folksman, 25.

'I never realised a baby would be so well developed at 23 weeks and they do have a chance of life.

'She added: 'I'm so grateful to everyone at the hospital who helped to keep our daughter alive. She's a little fighter and I can't imagine life without her.

'At 22 weeks, she was taken to hospital after her waters broke. Doctors attempted to halt the labour amid fears the baby wouldn't survive.

Less than a week later, Miss Slater gave birth to her daughter.

'When she came out they showed me a quick glance of her. She was absolutely tiny.

'They had an incubator all ready for her and took her to the neonatal unit.

'Lexie was obviously very, very ill,' her mother said. 'Her lungs hadn't developed properly and they kept collapsing.

'She also had surgery early on at five weeks because the back of her eyes hadn't developed. They were glued shut when she was born. When she opened them for the first time, I was so excited and relieved.

'She was in Hope Hospital in Manchester for 15 weeks, and then was in hospital in Wigan. It was such a relief when she got to Wigan  -  she was closer to all of us.

'Her mother added:

 Lexie is an inspiration  -  it just goes to show that you should never give up hope.