A micro-preemie who was born at just 23 weeks is celebrating a big milestone with his family — his first birthday.
When Amandi Omokore-Allen was born in Austin, Texas, on January 10, 2022, he faced just a 10% chance of survival.
“He was under a pound-and-a-half and 23 weeks and two days,” Samantha Smith, a neonatal nurse practitioner at Pediatrix Neonatology of Texas and Ascension Seton Medical Center in Austin, told Fox News Digital.
Amandi’s parents, Tolulope Omokore and Patrick Allen, had already undergone quite an ordeal. Pregnant with twins, Tolulope started experiencing spotting when she was 22.5 weeks pregnant, and soon learned that Amandi’s brother had passed away. Doctors put Tolulope on bedrest immediately in the hopes of prolonging the life of the other twin in utero for as long as possible.
“There were a lot of emotions,” Tolulope said. “The doctors told us, ‘Hey, you’re going to be here until you give birth’ — which we hoped would be May. In my mind, I’m talking to Amandi, saying, ‘Please just stay in there.’”
Despite all the medical efforts, little Amandi was born just a week later, weighing one pound five ounces.
After Amandi was born, Tolulope was able to deliver the body of her other child, Asaiah. “It was a very bittersweet moment,” she said. “I was able to hold Asaiah, but they took Amandi straight from me to the incubator because, of course, every second counts. And I’m thinking, I’ve just lost one — am I going to lose both of them?”
In an August statement, Pediatrix Medical Group detailed Amandi’s uphill battle. “Amandi was quite ill in the beginning,” the hospital said. “Initially, he was on a ventilator, and he had pneumothorax, requiring a chest tube. He also had some feeding intolerance in need of continuous gavage feeds, he developed pneumonia about six weeks in and he had a pulmonary hemorrhage.”
Despite his rough beginning, Amandi pulled through. After 155 days in the NICU, he was able to go home with his family in June. “Everyone was clapping and crying,” Tolulope said. “I was hugging everyone. And I was thinking about Asaiah as well.”
Now, celebrating his first birthday, Amandi continues to make gains. “He’s in the 43rd percentile in weight,” Tolulope said. “The pulmonologist was showing me his chart — and just to think, he started at that 1-pound mark.”
Smith, who cared for Amandi in the NICU, spoke of his progress. “Cases like Amandi’s give me all the warmth in my heart to keep going, because we are faced with losses in that 22-to-23-week gestation mark, which have a huge impact on us,” she said. “So, when you see an extremely premature baby thrive the way Amandi has, it reminds us why we do what we do and how important our work is to so many babies and their families!”
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