A BABY born weighing the same as just a bag of sugar has defied doctors predictions by celebrating her first birthday.

Little Diamond Rose Taylor was born 14 weeks early weighing just 2lbs 3oz at Burnley General Teaching Hospital.

Doctors told her worried parents Natalie Taylor and Boyd Townsend from Oswaldtwistle that Diamond Rose had just a 50 per cent chance of surviving being born so prematurely.

Diamond Rose spent weeks battling for survival in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in the Lancashire Women and Newborn Centre.

However, despite her rollercoaster start in life, Diamond-Rose has reached her first birthday milestone and is a happy, smiling little girl, much to the delight of parents.

Mum, Natalie, 27, who is originally from Burnley, also has children Ebony-Leigh, eight, Evie-Grace, six, Riley-James, three and Junior-Jay, two, has now told of how the couple feared their daughter would never see her first birthday.

The couple’s plight started after Ms Taylor said she went for a check-up at Burnley General after suffering a bleed and was told to stay in for monitoring.

The following day, her waters broke and a terrified Ms Taylor ended up giving birth to Diamond-Rose by emergency Caesarean Section as she was in the breech position.

Ms Taylor said: “None of my other children came early so it was a real shock.

“Diamond-Rose was born at 26 weeks on June 22, 2016 weighing 2lbs 3oz.

“She was taken to be ventilated straight away.

“I was so scared as it was so early, I didn’t think she was going to survive.”

Diamond-Rose was ventilated for a few weeks and then given high flow oxygen to help keep her airways open.

She then spent a couple of weeks in neonatal intensive care followed by high dependency and then the nursery room.

After 14 weeks in the unit, she was finally well enough to go home and medics are pleased with her progress.

Ms Taylor said Diamond-Rose still has oxygen through a nose tube and the consultant said she might be on it for a while yet - but that she has made such good progress and is now a ‘happy baby and is always smiling.’

She said: “She sees a physiotherapist for her development and gets exercises and the community neonatal nurses come out every week to see her. She has just started to sit up on her own.

“Her first birthday was very emotional for us as a family as this time last year, we did not know if she would make it.”

Ms Taylor is full of praise for the NICU staff and describes the care they offer as ‘priceless’.

She added: “The NICU staff are amazing and are all heroes who save so many babies’ lives.

“We have been back with gifts and cards a few times and we held a fundraising night with a raffle and auction which raised £1,200 for the unit.

“It is nothing compared to what they did for Diamond-Rose but we just wanted to give a little back to say thank you.”

Dev Kumar, consultant neonatologist at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “It is very gratifying for us to see Diamond-Rose turn one and see the happy and smiling baby she has become.”