An infant who doctors believe is the world’s smallest surviving baby went home earlier in May after spending five months in a neonatal intensive care unit, a San Diego hospital confirmed Wednesday.
Baby Saybie, who is being identified by her nickname only, was born at 8.6 ounces after an emergency caesarean section at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns.
She’s the smallest baby born on record, according to the University of Iowa’s Tiniest Babies Registry.
“For comparison, at birth she was roughly the same weight as a large apple or a child’s juice box,” Trisha Khaleghi, the hospital’s senior vice president and chief executive, said at a news conference, according to The Washington Post.
Saybie’s doctors and parents didn’t think she was going to make it when she was delivered in December.
Saybie’s mother, who wished to remain anonymous, recounted in a video that doctors told Saybie’s father the newborn would likely only survive for an hour.
WARNING: The following video contains sensitive images that some viewers may find disturbing. Viewer discretion is advised.
“But that hour turned into two hours, which turned into a day, which turned into a week,” the mother recounted.
Saybie was born at 23 weeks and three days in gestation because her mother had preeclampsia, a dangerous pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure.
Many babies born at 23 weeks have survived, but Saybie’s condition was unique because her mother’s preeclampsia had slowed her growth.
Neonatologist Paul Wozniak held baby Saybie in the delivery room.
“I thought, ‘Oh, my God, I can’t believe how small she is,’” Wozniak told The Post.
“We weren’t expecting anyone this small.”
The survival rate for premature babies in Saybie’s situation is about 20 percent, Wozniak said.
Saybie wasn’t breathing when she was born, and Wozniak and his team had to insert a breathing tube the size of a juice box straw, according to The Post.
Her tiny size meant that standard neonatal equipment was sometimes to big for Saybie. NICU resuscitation beds’ built-in scales could not register her weight because it was below 300 grams, The Post reported.
During her time in the hospital, baby Saybie escaped many of the complications faced by “micro-preemies,” including brain bleeds.
She was breastfeeding, breathing on her own and weighing in at five pounds by the time she was discharged.
“The fact that she’s done so well is just such a reward, and just makes the whole team feel wonderful,” Wozniak told The Post.
The bill will also allow women to have abortions after 24 weeks in cases where “there is an absence of fetal viability, or at any time when necessary to protect a patient’s life or health,” according to the legislation.
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