The world’s tiniest surviving baby beat the odds and is now cleared to leave the NICU. Back in December 2018, doctors struggled to save a pregnant woman suffering from preeclampsia. The doctors recognized that the mother’s life hung in the balance and decided the best course of action was performing an emergency C-section.
Unfortunately, the mother was only 23 weeks pregnant and the baby entered the world weighing just 8.6 ounces. Doctors worked quickly to stabilize the baby, but they had little hope that it would survive. They informed the parents that no baby at born at that birthweight had ever survived.
“They told my husband he had about an hour with her and that she was going to die. But that hour turned into two hours. Which turned into a day. Which turned into a week,” the mother explained in a video released by Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women and Newborns.
Nurses and staff called the baby, Saybie. Saybie gave them hope as she survived day after day. Finally, she was discharged from the NICU this month, weighing 5 pounds 6 ounces. The healthy baby girl proved that she’s a fighter.
Saybie holds the record as the world’s smallest surviving baby. At birth, she weighed 6 grams less than the previous record holder. It’s extremely uncommon for babies born weighing less than 14.1 ounces to survive. The University of Iowa keeps a Tiniest Baby Registry to track babies born under the weight.
Many nurses and staff consider Saybie’s survival a miracle. “I’m just really proud of them and the baby, and to just see them transform as parents and see this little baby go home that usually is like completely against all odds,” nurse, Devyn Kohl told NBC News.
Preeclampsia only affects 2-8% of pregnancies. Most mothers experience preeclampsia but go on to deliver healthy babies. According to The March of Dimes, preeclampsia is fairly common, but it can be very serious and even fatal.
Preeclampsia usually occurs after the 20th week of pregnancy and is characterized by high blood pressure and organ stress, typically of the liver and kidneys. This dangerous condition can be fatal to both the mother and her baby. Approximately 3 out of 20 premature births are a result of preeclampsia.
“I just want her to know how strong she is,” nurse Emma Wiest told NBC News. “I mean, if she can start off where she was and do as well as she can be, there’s nothing she can’t do.”
Thanks to the hard work and dedication of the NICU team, Saybie finally gets to go home. It took five long months of intense care, but now Saybie has a support team cheering her own for the rest of her life.
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