Miracle ‘iPhone’ baby from Stratford defies odds to start school

Armarni Charley in her school uniform

Armarni Charley in her school uniform - Credit: Archant

A “miracle baby” who was the size of an iPhone when she was born has defied the odds and is now getting ready for her first day at school.

Glenda with her children Armarni and Cartier

Glenda with her children Armarni and Cartier - Credit: Archant

When Glenda Charlery, of Plaistow Grove, Stratford, began to experience signs of labour 18 weeks early, she rushed to Newham University Hospital fearing she was about to lose her baby.

“I was told she wasn’t going to make it. I went in at 22 weeks and babies are only considered viable at 24 weeks,” she said.

Doctors explained what would happen when her waters broke.

“They would deliver her, put her in my arms and she might survive for half an hour, maybe two, if we were lucky, but they couldn’t do anything to help her,” she said.

They were so sure that Armarni wouldn’t survive they offered Glenda an abortion to spare her the trauma of a stillbirth.

“I said, ‘I’m not going to give up on her.’ I refused to have a termination and when they saw how adamant I was the doctors said if I could get to 23 weeks they would do everything they could.”

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Glenda was put on total bedrest, as gravity could bring on labour, adding: “I didn’t even move to go to the toilet. I was scared to cough or sneeze.”

Each extra day that Armarni spent in the womb gave her a greater chance of survival, but after six days in hospital, Glenda herself fell gravely ill with pre-eclampsia and began to have fits. She said: “If they didn’t intervene I would have died.“

Doctors told her, “you’re our priority now, not the baby,” as they gave her injections to bring on labour so they could treat the infection.

Little Armarni came into the world just after 5am on August 22 2012 - and weighed 515g. She was so frail that she was kept in hospital until December 12.

Four years after her traumatic birth, Armarni has “flourished” - and been joined by little brother Cartier - who, at 15 months, is almost as tall as his sister.

Now the tiny baby whose life was going to be measured in hours is starting school on Monday.

Armarni said she is “excited” for her first day at Stratford’s School 21, and added: “I like making new friends.”

Glenda and Armarni’s father Bru, meanwhile, feel “excitement and anxiety all in one”. Glenda said: “For me, it is so emotional after being told you have got a child that’s not going to make it,” she said. “It’s a really big deal for me that she’s going to be in school because of all she’s gone through. I’m just very proud of her.”