Human Interest

Micro-preemie born at 23 weeks beats the odds

preemie, premature, abortion survivor, born alive

A little girl born at just 23 weeks has defied the odds and is now home with her family. A micro-preemie, Valentina Alvarado weighed just 1 lb 4 oz at birth.

Valentina’s parents, Gaby Alvarado and Jesus Barraza, spoke at a news conference with hospital officials from Kaiser Permanente San Leandro Medical Center. The couple said that doctors believed Valentina’s chances were slim when Gaby went into labor on September 4, 2021. In fact, while babies as young as 21 weeks have survived, Jesus said doctors told him that if Valentina were born any earlier, there would have been no chance.

“The doctors told us that if she came before 23 weeks, they wouldn’t be able to do anything,” he said, according to NBC Bay Area. Thankfully, Valentina pulled through, but her first few months were not without concern.

“They had to put her on a machine, three different machines, to breathe but with oxygen,” Jesus said. “There were times when she needed 100% oxygen from the machine, she was surviving on just the machine.” He went on to describe how harrowing those first few months were. “Those first two months they had to resuscitate her three times,” he said.

READ: ‘Not hopeless’: Global map shows hospitals confirmed to have saved 22-week preemies

Hospital officials say that it was a collaborative effort by NICU nurses, doctors, therapists, social workers, and managers to help the preemie pull through. “A whole team wants to see the success of all our babies and particularly one that is vulnerable,” said Kaiser Neonatologist Dr. Ashvin Sangoram during the press conference.

Finally, a week before her five-month birthday, Jesus and Gaby received news that their little girl could go home. “All that week, we just looked forward to the day,” Jesus said. By the time she was discharged in January, all of Valentina’s organs were functioning properly and she weighed a healthy 11 pounds and measured 22 inches.

“She is honestly just a little miracle,” Gaby said. “If she can fight this hard for her life and overcome so much when she is so small, there is nothing the rest of us can’t do.”

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