A premature baby believed to be the smallest to ever survive has gone home, a San Diego hospital has announced. Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns announced that the little girl, nicknamed Saybie, grew to over five pounds and is healthy, after being born over two months early. While Saybie’s family wishes to remain anonymous, they have allowed the hospital to share her story.
Saybie was born at 23 weeks gestation, weighing just 245 grams (8.6 ounces) — about the size of an apple. According to the Tiniest Babies Registry, which is maintained by the University of Iowa, Saybie came in at seven grams smaller than the previous world’s smallest baby. With severe pre-eclampsia, doctors said her mother’s life was at risk, and Saybie was not gaining weight.
After surviving the emergency c-section, doctors worked to stabilize her before transferring her to the NICU. “It was the scariest day of my life,” Saybie’s mother said in a video released by the hospital. Considered a micro-preemie — or a baby born earlier than 28 weeks gestation — Saybie was at high risk for numerous complications, including brain bleeds, digestive problems, and heart and lung issues. Miraculously, Saybie had none of these issues. Still, before she could go home, she had to gain weight and grow stronger, and hospital staffers believe that Sharp Mary Birch, believed to have one of the best NICUs in the world, helped little Saybie survive.
“No one expects their baby to be born with complications,” Trisha Khaleghi, senior vice president and chief executive officer at Sharp Mary Birch, said in a statement. “But when the unexpected occurs, Sharp Mary Birch is equipped with the latest technologies, equipment, research and specially trained experts to care for even the world’s smallest baby.”
“They told my husband he had about an hour with her, and then she was going to pass away,” Saybie’s mother recalled. “But that hour turned into two hours, which turned into a day, which turned into a week.” Saybie now weighs over five pounds and is healthy. “I just want her to know how strong she was,” one of her nurses said in the video. “I mean, if she can start off where she was and do as well as she can [be], there’s nothing she can’t do.”
“She is the smallest baby,” her mother concluded. “But… she’s mine.”
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