Human Interest

Premature baby born at 23 weeks is now a thriving preschooler: ‘We are truly grateful’

preemie, premature birth, premature

There’s a common misconception that abortion is necessary in order to save women’s lives, but doctors are much more likely to induce premature delivery in an attempt to save both mother and child in an emergency situation. For Jessica Doxey, it was an emergency c-section that saved her life — and the life of her preborn son Kaio — when she was 23 weeks pregnant.

Doxey was rushed to the hospital after developing a severe and sudden headache at about five and half months pregnant, and she was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia, a condition that can occur in pregnancy which involves dangerously high blood pressure. Pre-eclampsia can lead to death for both mother and child. It can start as early as 20 weeks, and in some cases, like Doxey’s, it can develop into HELLP syndrome, which affects the blood and liver.

Doctors prepared to perform an emergency c-section, but told Doxey that her baby boy was so premature, he was not likely to survive. They asked her if she wanted them to try and save him, while giving him a 40% chance of survival. But after he was born on July 7, 2017, weighing just 435 grams, that survival prognosis dropped to just 10%.

“At no point in my mind was I willing to give up on our little boy,” said Doxey. “I’d been in so much pain over the last 72 hours, but what kept me going was holding on to the belief that he’d be okay. The c-section took about an hour, and they had to use a general anesthetic to perform the surgery.”

READ: Premature baby makes history as youngest preemie ever to survive

She continued, “When I woke up, I was really confused, and the doctors explained that Kaio was alive, but weighed just 435 grams. They even invited my husband in so we could share what they thought would be our first and last moments with him in case he didn’t make it. But, that thought hadn’t even crossed our mind, and we were determined to save him.”

Baby Kaio, named after his father, spent six weeks on a ventilator and two and a half months in an incubator. Then a few weeks before Christmas 2017, he was sent home with his family at four and half months old, weighing eight pounds, 15 ounces. Now, he’s a thriving four-year-old.

“It was the hardest time of our lives, but that feeling of bringing him home was indescribable,” said Doxey. “Walking through our front door with him in our arms it seemed like everything was right in the world — we are truly grateful.”

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