Two families are enjoying the holidays with their newest babies home from the hospital after both were born extremely early and spent over 100 days in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Both baby Reece from Nebraska and baby Paris from Texas were micro-preemies, born months before their due dates. Their survival is a testament to the amazing power of modern medicine, which is enabling children younger than ever — as young as 21 weeks — to thrive outside the womb.
“A true miracle”
Reece’s mom, Megan Phipps, said she knew there was something different about her pregnancy with Reece, which was not her first. That’s because she was carrying twins. A press release from Bryan Health in Lincoln, Nebraska, revealed that Phipps had a rare condition called uterine didelphys, which meant that she had two uteruses instead of one. Phipps was carrying a child in each uterus.
At just five months into her pregnancy, when she was 22.5 weeks pregnant, Phipps went into labor and gave birth to her twins, Reece and Riley, micro-preemies. Sadly, Riley passed away after 12 days in the NICU, but Reece, who was born weighing just over one pound, managed to make it. She ended up staying in the hospital for 144 days, during which time she spent 45 days on a ventilator and received nearly a dozen blood transfusions.
Despite her extremely early birth and early health challenges, Reece pulled through and was able to go home with her family on November 2, at a healthy weight of more than eight pounds. According to the Lincoln Journal Star, Reece doesn’t appear to have any major health complications. “She is a true miracle,” said Kallie Gertsch, a NICU nurse who cared for Reece.
A Texas homecoming
Baby Paris Nguyen was born in August weighing just 450 grams — less than one pound — at 23 weeks. She was the smallest baby ever born at Medical City Arlington hospital.
“Paris was an extremely premature baby with very low odds of survival,” said Dr. Raghu Turebylu, a neonatologist at Medical City Arlington, according to The Dallas Morning News. “Seeing her come through this is such a joyful thing.”
Paris’s mother, Uyen Lam, says she asked the doctors daily if she would be able to take her little daughter home in time for Christmas. “We are so happy, so excited,” she said upon learning that Paris, then weighing six pounds, would be discharged after spending 116 days in the NICU.
In a video produced by the hospital, both Lam and Paris’s father, Duc Nguyen, are full of praise for the hospital that saved their daughter. “They say she’s a miracle, but without them, the miracle wouldn’t happen,” Nguyen said. “Thank you would not be enough. It’s never enough for what they have done.”
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