The Hartlepool baby who's been defying doctors since the day she was born

Battling baby Millie McGuire has continued to defy medics from the day she was born.

Saturday, 7th May 2016, 8:00 am
Updated Saturday, 7th May 2016, 12:40 pm
Millie McGuire soon after she was born.

After being born with irreversible brain damage and needing resuscitation, doctors warned her devoted parents Kev and Marcia McGuire that Millie may not survive the night.

She did, but they were then told she might not see out the week, ever open her eyes or move her limbs.

Kev, Marcia and Millie

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But five months on Millie is still fighting and has gone on to do all those things and more.

Dad Kev, 49, said: “Initially, when she was born the hospital said she would be lucky to see the night through then she did.

“Then they were telling us we would be lucky if Millie made the week, then month, but she just fought and fought.

“After that she was being hit by infections left, right and centre and she just fought that. I think she is a bit like me defiant and a bit stubborn.”

Kev at home with Millie

Millie’s determination has been inspiring for Marcia, 33, and Kev, who added: “We both work in the medical profession and have never seen anything like it before.

“Millie’s consultants were amazed by her defiance and resilience in the face of death. To see someone so small fighting for their life and winning daily just does something to you.

“I just thought we are going to fight with her regardless.”

An oxygen problem in the weeks leading up to birth left Millie with Hypoxic Ischaemic Encephalopathy (HIE) and irreversible brain damage.

Millie in mum Marcia's arms

Her exact condition has still to be diagnosed and may never be after baffling consultants and experts in Newcastle and London.

Millie underwent numerous scans at different hospitals to determine levels of brain damage.

She did not open her eyes for weeks, but now takes in everything around her. Another important milestone for her family was when she started to swallow and develop her gag reflex.

She is now at home after spending all but three days of her life in hospital, most of it at the University Hospital of North Tees’ special baby care unit.

Millie with her sensory toy Ollie the owl

Supporters in Hartlepool recently raised £2,000 for the unit in a fundraising night organised by the Miles for Men charity and town DJ Les Watts.

And Millie has recently been taken off oxygen, which she had been on since the day she was born.

“Fingers crossed, she is doing great,” said Kev, who is from Hartlepool and now lives in Stockton.

“We were told the likelihood was she was going to be on the oxygen for life.”

His research about how to support Millie led him to American clinical psychologist Anat Baniel ,who has had huge success working on neuro movement in babies and children with complex needs.

Kev, also dad to Tom, 17, and Annie, nine, and is one of the organisers of Hartlepool’s annual March of the Mods charity scooter rally and music event, said: “Anat sent us her book and we have been using her techniques with Millie almost daily, and she has developed so much in that time. She tries to turn over now.”

The charity night at Belle Vue Social Club organised by Miles for Men and Les Watts in aid of the special baby care unit

Millie is having neuro lessons with a practitioner of Anat’s techniques in Yorkshire.

An online fundraising page raised more than £2,500 towards the cost of the neuro lessons plus more from private donations and bank transfers.

Kev, a resuscitation officer at North Tees hospital, added: “We decided from early on that we would let the consultants concentrate on her disabilities and we will concentrate on the possibilities.

“The neuro lessons is all about waking Millie’s brain up to the possibilities and letting her know she has got two arms and legs and what they do.

“Anat couldn’t ‘heal’ or ‘fix’ these children, but her therapies woke their brains up to form new pathways and rewire leading to positive changes in cognitive abilities, fine and gross motor skills and fantastic results.”

Kev, Marcia and Millie
Kev at home with Millie
Millie in mum Marcia's arms
Millie with her sensory toy Ollie the owl
The charity night at Belle Vue Social Club organised by Miles for Men and Les Watts in aid of the special baby care unit