“We are here today to celebrate one of our tiniest babies born in Arizona, and she’s going home after 150 days,” Dr. Vinit Manuel, the director of St. Joseph Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit, said during a press conference at the hospital.
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Kallie Bender weighed just 0.8 pounds (or 13 ounces) when she was born and was shorter in length than a Barbie doll.
“Now she weighs more than 7 pounds and is ready to go home today,” said Manuel, who also noted that there are only about 225 babies who have been born that small since 1936.
After Kallie’s birth, she has to undergo complex heart surgery to correct a common heart defect. Though her initial chances of survival were low, Kallie did not experience any brain bleeds or blindness which can occur when a baby is born at 25 weeks.
Kallie’s mom, Ebonie Bender, was told she would need emergency surgery to save Kallie’s life at around six months pregnant. Bender was high-risk as a result of high blood pressure, but doctors discovered she had minimal fluid around the baby leading to the emergency surgery.
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Kallie was born 15 weeks early. It would be 37 days until her parents were able to hold her.
“I could not be more grateful for the doctors here, for our three primary nurses,” Bender said before taking her daughter home. “Although she’s going home with oxygen and her feeding tube, she’s still doing an amazing job at fighting.”
When I’m not hanging out with my three-year-old and husband in Brooklyn, I’m busy writing stories for Mamas Uncut and managing PR + Marketing for Magnolia Bakery, based in New York City. On weekends, you can usually find me at a local park or playground pushing my daughter on the swings, “researching” the best almond croissants in Park Slope or launching into impromptu family dance parties at home, the sidewalk or, every once in awhile, a restaurant bathroom. I’m still trying to master the whole parenting thing, but I have learned that copious amounts of coffee, humor and humility are involved on a daily basis.
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