Amairah Makan might have had a small start to life, but she’s just celebrated her first birthday with one big party. 

The Auckland tot weighed just 490g when she was born by emergency C-section at 29 weeks, making her one of New Zealand’s tiniest babies.

Despite being given a 30 per cent chance of survival, she turned one on February 25, and marked the occasion with a visit to Auckland Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, which mum Kainat Iqbal credits with saving her life.

“I didn’t expect them to remember Amairah’s name, because it had been so many months, but as soon as we walked in they were like, ‘Amairah is here!'” Iqbal said. 

“The nurses were all cuddling her, and we got to take some photos. It was really special.”

On Saturday, Iqbal and her husband Piyush Makan threw little Amairah a birthday party at home, which was attended by 90 friends and family members, including Iqbal’s parents who came over from Melbourne.

“We were meant to have a gender reveal party at home before she was born, but we had to cancel that. Then we couldn’t celebrate anything [after she was born] because we were unsure if she was going to make it,” Iqbal said.

“So we thought, for her first birthday party we’re going to go big.”

Iqbal said she spent the whole week leading up to Amairah’s birthday feeling emotional.

“I was like, I can’t believe how lucky and blessed we are,” she said.

“It feels like we have a normal family now doing normal things that parents are supposed to do.”

Iqbal has also raised more than $8000 for the Neonatal Trust on Givealittle to mark Amairah’s birthday, and said her message to parents facing a similar situation was to “believe in miracles”.

“Obviously doctors have to tell you what they have to tell you, but have faith and miracles do happen,” she said.

“Stats are just numbers and your baby doesn’t have to be a number.”

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