Dad vows to win fight for his 'miracle' daughter

isla Tobias

When little Isla Tobias was born, she weighed only 558g and her parents were told to take one day at a time. She is now approaching her second birthday. - Credit: Courtesy of Jasmine Tobias

When Isla Tobias was only three weeks old, her parents were told that she had only a ten percent chance of survival.

Isla, who was born 16 weeks premature, in September 2020, was about to face a major operation due to a gut and bowel perforation. 

At the time of her birth at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH), she had weighed just over a pound.

Premature baby in an incubator

Isla Tobias was put on a ventilator at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) after she was born 16 weeks premature. - Credit: Courtesy of Jasmine Tobias

"She weighed 558g, less than a homemade sponge cake," says her mother, Jasmine Tobias.

Despite the slim chances, Isla, a "true miracle", is now only two months away from celebrating her second birthday.

A husband and wife with their infant daughter

Troy and Jasmine Tobias with their daughter Isla. - Credit: Courtesy of Jasmine Tobias

It is only now that her parents, Jasmine, 27, and Troy, 28, who live at the old RAF base in Coltishall, can look forward to such milestones.

"After she was born," says Jasmine, "we were told to take each day as it comes."

Most Read

Isla spent the first five months of her life in an incubator at the hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

When she was three weeks old, doctors told her parents their baby daughter needed surgery and that she had only an eight to 10pc chance of surviving.

"I remember thinking, 'I haven't even held my baby yet'," says Jasmine.

"I will never forget that journey, going down to the operating theatre. I don't think I've ever held Troy's hand so tight. It felt like the longest walk ever."

A premature baby in an incubator.

Isla Tobias weighed one pound and three and a half ounces when she was born in September 2020. - Credit: Courtesy of Jasmine Tobias

The operation took two hours, the longest two hours of the young couple's lives.

When they were called back to the NICU, the surgeon called them into a side room.

"I remember looking up at him thinking, 'Please say something'," says Jasmine.

"He just looked at us, he pulled off his face mask and said, 'I'm so pleased to tell you your little girl has made it'.

"We went from feeling so tense to such relief."

A fortnight later Isla was taken off the ventilator.

A baby girl with a teddy bear

Isla Tobias, who was given an eight to 10 percent chance of surviving an operation when she was three weeks old, is now only two months away from her second birthday. - Credit: Courtesy of Jasmine Tobias

"To look at her now, she's doing amazing. She's so cheeky, so funny, so happy," says her mother.

"We will never be able to thank NICU for everything they've done."

Baby with doctors

Isla Tobias with her surgery and care team at the NICU at the NNUH. - Credit: Courtesy of Jasmine Tobias

Last year the couple raised £2,500 for the unit, and now Troy, who has never boxed before, is preparing to take part in a white-collar boxing event to raise more funds.

"Isla won her fight," he said, "so now it's my turn to win one for her."

The bout takes place on July 23 at Epic Studios in Norwich.

Visit the fundraising page at Just Giving.