WHEN he was born he weighed less than half a bag of sugar and was given just a 20 per cent chance of survival.

But “miracle” baby Archie Gillings is now home after his 164-day stint at neonatal intensive care units in three hospitals, and his mum, Amy, said “you would never tell anything was wrong” with her bouncing boy now.

The 40-year-old from Corfe Mullen contacted the Echo with her story after a feature on the UK’s tiniest babies ran in a national newspaper.

Archie was born at just 23 weeks and three days and weighed only one pound and one ounce (481g). He had to endure “countless” blood transfusions, nearly 20 “invasive” eye tests and was intubated three times, Amy said.

Due to his prematurity he was born with a small hole in his heart and chronic lung disease. He also suffered a brain bleed at birth and, at one stage, was believed to be developing necrotizing enterocolitisa, a fatal bowel condition, and he had to be transferred to a specialist unit in Brighton.

Recalling the trauma of Archie’s birth and his subsequent hospital stay, Amy said: “At 22 weeks I had a scan and I mentioned that I didn’t feel right.

“The next day I had to go to Poole Hospital and have an operation to put in cervical sutures as my waters were going to break at any time. But that night my waters completely broke and I was blue lighted to Portsmouth Hospital.

“I started to develop sepsis and was on IV drugs. My brother came to visit me and I didn’t even recognise who he was.

“The following night I was getting contractions, and two days later I was induced. After Archie came out I had to spend 10 days in hospital and have an operation.

“Archie was kept at Portsmouth, and I drove to the hospital every day for three months after picking up my other two children from school. I spent £600 a month on petrol. Archie then had to spend another three months at Poole Hospital before he could finally come home.

“The first three or four months of his life, we didn’t know what to expect. We’d phone the hospital every couple of hours. It was awful as we didn’t know whether he would live for a few minutes, hours or days.”

Archie is nine months old now, although he is the size of a five-month-old baby and can’t sit up on his own yet. He continues to be on oxygen, but not for much longer, Amy hopes.

“One of the last things a baby develops in the womb is lungs, so Archie’s were still immature when he was born. He’s only going to hospital every three months now, and specialists at Southampton are going to see if they can do anything about the tiny hole in his heart. There doesn’t seem to be anything else wrong with him, and there could have been lots because of how premature he was.”

Amy now refers to Archie as her “miracle” and “little superhero”. When he was born he was barely taller than the small knitted octopus toy that fits in the palm of Amy’s hand.

Now, he’s “still tiny compared to a nine-month-old baby”, she said, but the size difference will “even out when he gets to about two years old”.

The world’s smallest baby, a boy, was born last August in Tokyo weighing just 268g (9.45oz).