Lifestyle & Human Interest

Baby Born at Just 25 Weeks and 1 Pound Heavy Celebrates Milestone 'Graduation'


Parents who have gone through the experience where their child was born prematurely can attest to the anxiety of what it means to hold on; fearful of letting go of what has to be the most precious being in the world to them.

Most parents whose children are born too early still pray for the blessing of the baby’s survival because their role as a parent began long before the day of delivery.

For a parent to go through this once, where the life of their child hangs in the balance, is terrifying, but imagine having to go through it twice.

A story from ABC News’ “Good Morning America” featured a family in Georgia who found themselves faced with this exact scenario.

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“Your greatest contribution to the world may not be something you do, but someone you raise,” Smith wrote on her Facebook page.

“2020 year has been a tough year for so many people and our story is spreading positivity, hope, faith and showing what a healer God is!”

“I’ll never forget my promise that if he healed our baby I would make sure the world knows THIS WAS ALL GOD’s doing! He turned our Test into a TESTIMONY and keeps allowing us to bless others through it! I know my dad is dancing in heaven that his namesake Charlie has stolen everyone’s heart. He stole mine from day one!” She added.

Alena Smith and her husband Wendall recently celebrated their youngest son Charlie’s third birthday, exactly one day after he graduated from the years of treatment he needed after he was born prematurely, according to ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

Smith and her husband had endured a similar situation with Charlie’s older brother, Wendell III, when he was born at 31 weeks gestation and weighing three pounds.

However, Charlie was in a far more precarious position than his brother.

He weighed only one pound after being born at 25 weeks gestation, and doctors gave him a 50 percent chance of survival.

“It was scary,” Smith said, regarding Charlie when he was born. “Especially since he was much smaller than his brother.”

While Smith had preeclampsia, it was not clear to medical professionals why both of Smith’s children were born prematurely.

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Still, Charlie arriving six weeks earlier than his brother meant he had more obstacles to overcome, and his stay at the hospital lasted 328 days.

Since he was born prematurely, Charlie’s lungs were underdeveloped, and he had a tracheoscopy, which was later removed in 2019.

Until his recent treatment graduation, Charlie was considered to be “medically fragile,” requiring him to receive at-home care for his physical, occupational and speech therapy needs.

“It was a bittersweet moment … I have to say goodbye to him, but it was also a good reason to say goodbye,” Charlie’s nurse, Geunevah Lafontant from Optimum Pediatric Services, told ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

Smith also shared that her son Charlie is a “fighter,” and now, at three-years-old, Smith said Charlie’s favorite things to do are play baseball and wrestle with his older brother.

Smith’s personal story inspired her to create Trust Your Strength, an organization that assists the families of premature babies by sending “self-care packages” to the mothers of children who may spend weeks or months in the NICU.

For many women, that little bit of hope can mean everything when they’re confronted with such a harrowing situation, and Smith’s organization offers encouragement to mothers like her whose babies came early but are no less worthy of a chance at life.

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Samantha Kamman is an associate staff writer for The Western Journal. She has been published in several media outlets, including Live Action News and the Washington Examiner.
Samantha Kamman is an associate staff writer for The Western Journal. She has been published in several media outlets, including Live Action News and the Washington Examiner.