Thank you to all of the families and preemies from around the world who sent in their stories for the BabyFirst Baby of the Month feature. Each month you will find a new story about a courageous preemie and how he or she is doing today. Each story gives hope and inspiration to the parents and families currently experiencing all of challenges that may come with prematurity.
Her family lives in Phuket and the doctor there diagnosed her mother with preeclampsia. Her parents then made the decision to see a doctor at another hospital where they decided to operate. Her father named her Kingfah (from heaven) and nickname "Baipoh" (leaf of Buddha). She stayed in the hospital for around 4 months; in the NICU for around 2 months and 1 week and in the ward for around 1 month and 3 weeks. Her mother's blood pressure was not yet stable so she didn't get to meet her daughter until 3 days after her birth. The first day they met was hard for her mother as Kingfah was in the incubator with many tubes, oxygen and lots of things. Now she's healthy but her weight is still under average weight. She speaks well and does not have any issues. Her dream job is to be a doctor and to help people. She's lively, always smiling, and she loves singing and the piano.
460 gr / 27 weeks
Zachary was born weighing 1lb 4oz and 11 inches long. His mom needed an emergency c-section at 24 weeks due to severe preeclampsia. He spent 127 days in the NICU. He was on a ventilator for two and a half months since his lungs were so premature. He had laser eye surgery twice in both eyes. He had inguinal hernias and that was the easy stuff. One night his family was called down to the NICU because Zachary’s heart was getting too big for his body. The doctors said they weren‘t sure if he would make it through the night and thought that his heart was going to fail. He made it through the night and after 66 days, his mom was able to hold her baby boy for the first time! He was too sick to hold before that. Today he is 8 years old and 4ft and 55lbs. He has mild cerebral, SPD and ADHD. Zachary is the most energetic, loving, kind-hearted, creative 8 year old with a great sense of humor. He is his mom‘s super hero and the strongest, most stubborn kid she knows and that is why he is here today.
567 gr / 24 weeks
Lucie was born still inside her sack. When they opened the bag she let out a cry, just a little squeak. She was given her name after her mom heard nurses discuss tightening something, righty tighty, lefty loosey. Lucie. She stayed in the hospital for around 4 months. It was a mental and physical roller-coaster for her parents, they never knew what would happen hour by hour, day by day. Everything could change in a heartbeat. Several lung collapses, blood transfusions, PDA ligation, 3 courses of steroids, 125 days until she was finally discharged on oxygen. She had oxygen until she was 10 months old. Now she’s a cheeky monster, she’s bright and funny, bouncy and tries to run everywhere. Even though she’s still a bit unstable, she’s always on the go. Her superpower is her ability to move. Her mom says she just never stops, she could cause an earthquake or something.
590 gr / 23 weeks + 2 days
When Rio was born, the doctor told his mother that he would have less than a 10% chance to celebrate his 1st birthday because he has Trisomy 13 Syndrome. It was incredibly sad and difficult news for Rio’s parents but they decided together that even if it’s difficult to live longer, they would become s tronger. It has been four years since they made that decision. Rio and his family love to visit the sea, go on skiing trips and venture overseas. Rio is such a strong boy. His smile is his super power. It gives his family and everyone else around him energy.
2352 gr. / 37 weeks + 3 days
Amelia had a bad start: She was intubated for 4 weeks, had 8 transfusions and was on CPAP for 7 weeks. Her stay in the NICU lasted 12 weeks. She also had a variety of health issues including chronic lung disease, a few haemangioma, a deformed left foot and a sensory processing disorder. She has had years of occupational, speech and language therapy, as well as physiotherapy. She is the light of her parents’ lives and has inspired her mother to work in the field of advocacy to improve outcomes for neonates in Ireland.
780 gr. / 26 weeks +1 day
Temiloluwa was born as an emergency at 29 weeks. His heart rate was dropping and he had an Apgar score of 0. After being resuscitated, he stayed in the NICU for 64 days. There, he not only developed jaundice but also a necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) symptoms and sepsis. He also has a genetic disorder (G6PDD). He is now a very cute 5-month-old baby and he has quintupled his birth weight!
900 gr. / 29 weeks
The beginning of Kalle’s life was dramatic. He was delivered by emergency C-section. His twin sister, Astrid, died during childbirth. Kalle and his mother were 6 or 7 minutes from not making it but fortunately everything turned for the better. Today Kalle is a spirited and happy little kid who never stays still and always has something going on. He loves motorcycles and cars!
740 gr. / 24 weeks +4 days
Mance’s mother’s water broke at 30 weeks after a gallbladder attack. After 5 days of labor, Mance arrived, a really tiny baby. He was in the NICU for 3 weeks where he, fortunately, had no major issues other than an infection that stemmed from the gallbladder problem. He was on antibiotics, a nose cannula for a week and caffeine for two weeks. He was barely 2.3 kg (5 lb) when he came home. Once there, he grew so fast that 5 months later his weight is 6.6 kg (14.5 lb).
1814 gr. / 32 weeks
Chloe came as quite a shock and gave only a single cry when she was born. The little girl was rushed to NICU straight away and stayed there for just under 6 months. Chloe and her family had a very memorable first Christmas in the hospital and the fantastic staff members in the unit were amazing. Thanks to them, Chloe is now a beautiful 8-year-old, who loves fossils and enjoys her life.
610 gr. / 23 weeks
Annabelle was born at 27 weeks by emergency C-section. She was in the NICU for 3 months. There she had a rollercoaster ride with different complications including a heart murmur, sepsis, prolonged jaundice, slow weight gain and breathing problems. Thanks to the nursing staff and wonderful doctors she was fully discharged at 2.5 years with above-agedevelopment. This is a true blessing for the whole family.
865 gr. / 27 weeks
Sofía was born at 30 weeks gestational age. During the first hours after birth, Sofía presented respiratory dysfunction so she was put on a ventilator. She suffered many complications including pneumonia, seizures, cerebral haemorrhage and a brain stroke. After a long stay at the NICU, she was discharged. Today she is a healthy and happy girl.
1750 gr. / 30 weeks
The twin boys were delivered by C-section. Thankfully, both were healthy, coming into the world screaming without assistance. Henry weighed in at 1.2 kg and Thomas at 1.35 kg. During their third week, they started receiving their mother’s milk through a tube straight to their stomach every three hours (1 ml at a time) to complement the IV, controlling the intake and monitoring ‘output’ as not to damage their tiny tummies. During the fourth and fifth weeks, they gradually started bottle-feeding, eventually having the tubes removed and bottle-feeding exclusively. During their fifth week of stay in the NICU, they had daily visits from the consultants who were happy with their progress.
H 1.2Kg / T 1.35 Kg / 30 weeks + 6 days
Francesca was born by C-section at 31 weeks after her mother had been on bedrest for four weeks for preeclampsia. She had intrauterine growth restriction and was smaller than she should have been at that age. She had an uneventful 2-month NICU stay, and came home healthy, but still tiny weighing only 1.8 kg (4 lb). Now, 13 years old, Francesca is happy, tall, healthy, and in all honors classes. She loves cheerleading, singing, and gymnastics
1042 gr. / 31 weeks
Richard came into the world by caesarean section. Despite the fact that his parents were told he would die or grow up in a vegetative state, Richard fought for his life from the very beginning. After 15 weeks, his parents were able take him home. Although he has multiple disabilities; he is a talented gymnast, horse rider, photographer and artist. He is an inspiration to everyone he meets and is proof that anything is possible.
850 gr. / 25 weeks + 2 days
Kimberley was born by emergency C-section. She had a cerebralhaemorrhage and massive internal bleeding. The little girl was ventilated postnatally, operated several times and later received CPAP respiratory support. After 14 weeks of stay in the hospital, she was discharged on her calculated birthday. Today she goes to a half-day kindergarten because every afternoon she receives therapy (physiotherapy, occupational therapy, swimming, horseback riding and early Intervention). Although she still suffers from spastic dysplasia in both legs, Kimberly is a very bright and agile child. She is eager to learn, very receptive, and optimistic. Kimberley loves to tinker, listen to music and have people read aloud to her.
890 gr. / 26 weeks
Simeon was born at 28 weeks gestational age. He developed many complications like bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), a grade 3 intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) and retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). He spent 4 months in the NICU. He was discharged from the NICU with O2 dependency for the following month. Simeon is now a healthy four-year-old who speaks two languages and likes playing football.
1385 gr. / 28 weeks
Born at 24 weeks, Tela’s lungs were very immature, and she was in the NICU for a long time. She needed O2-therapy and home care. While she was in the NICU, Tela’s parents attended to her, reading books and singing songs. This was rare behavior for a Japanese NICU at that time. Normally parents and family members just looked at their baby but did not try to interact. This was the most integrated family-centered care in Japan. Now she is 4 years old and is doing very well. Tela told hospital staff that she likes to play, go skiing and eat noodles.
286g / 24 weeks + 5 days
This is the story of little Charlotte from Dresden born in December by caesarean section due to maternal pre-eclampsia at 26 weeks gestational age. She weighed 430 grams and measured 27 cm. After birth, Charlotte was ventilated by CPAP without any major complications. Sudden deterioration in her general condition, transfer back to the NICU with subsequent intubation and ventilation: at the time Charlotte was six months old, weighed 4.2 kg and was 49 cm tall. Today, she is agile, chatters to herself and bems at her parents. For Charlotte's parents, she is their "Christmas miracle".
430 gr. / 26 weeks
Dante was born after 24 weeks due to an infection in his mothers uterus. After he was born, he had to be ventilated for three weeks. When he was 18 days old he had to undergo surgery for his ductus. His family spent 16 weeks at the NICU and in that time Dante survived an urinary infection that spread to the blood and caused sepsis. The doctors weren't sure he would make it, but gainst all odds he did it
567 gr. / 24 weeks
Ava was born with a congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH), which is a life threatening disease for preemies. She only had a 20% chance of survival and the doctors didn‘t know if she would make it through a surgical intervention. Nevertheless, six weeks later they operated. She was the youngest baby ever to be operated on at this hospital. She spent over 15 weeks in hospital and the CDH charity said that Ava was the youngest survivor they had ever seen. Today, the little girl is thriving and is doing everything she should be.
669 gr. / 26 weeks
One month before the due date, Bailey’s mother felt that his movement had reduced. The hospital told his mother she should come in for monitoring. Within eight minutes, the nurse realized the baby was in distress and would need to be delivered right away. Bailey arrived at 1:34 am the following day. The umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck and he had difficulties breathing. He was rushed to the intensive care unit and, fortunately, he was discharged after 3 days. Today, he is the happiest of little boys.
2613 gr. / 36 weeks
After her birth, Elif had to stay six weeks in the NICU and then she was moved to another hospital where she spent another ten weeks in the NICU. She suffered from infections, failed attempts of extubation and a lot of other complications. She had a PDA ligation operation and suffered from RSV bronchiolitis and adenovirus infection which made it necessary to keep her on high-frequency oscillatory ventilation combined with nitric ocide for two weeks. Elif nearly died but she fought – and pulled through. These days, she is still on oxygen at home but gradually weaning off.
860 gr. / 26 weeks + 2 days
Harrison arrived by emergency C-section after his mother developed severe preeclampsia at 27 weeks. Harrison was in hospital for 13 weeks and it was the most challenging experience of his mother‘s life. For 93 days she visited Harrison at the hospital and enjoyed every second of kangaroo care and feeding time. Harrison amazes his family every day. He is his mother‘s hero.
822 gr. / 27 weeks + 6 days
During the check-up appointment at week 25, the midwife discovered that Isobel‘s mother had developed preeclampsia so she was sent to the hospital. Three days after that she went in for a scan which showed the baby's oxygen was low. The only option was to deliver Isobel by C-section. When she was three days old the situation was very touch-and-go but amazingly she pulled through. Isobel spent four months in hospital. She is now a thriving little girl.
482 gr. / 25 weeks
Laiya and her twin brother Luke Junior were born at 25 weeks gestational age. Her brother only survived for five hours. Laiya had a lot of complications: heart surgery, eye surgery, grade II-bleeding in the brain, multiple blood transfusions, multiple infections. After she was ventilated for four weeks, she was able to go off ventilation support. Even so, she had to stay four months in NICU. When she came home, she still needed oxygen support. Nevertheless, today she is a happy little girl.
765 gr. / 25 weeks
Mason was born early since his movement reduced starting at week 32. When he was born, he was blue and not breathing. His lung had collapsed. His mother had never been so scared in her entire life. Mason was in the hospital for nine days and his mother could not hold him before day four. She went through a very dark time, but the amazing staff members in the unit helped her through it. Mason is doing ok now. He has heart murmurs but is reaching all developmental milestones. He loves being cuddled by his brothers and being with his family.
2721 grams / 37 weeks
When Morgan was born, his family was told that his esophagus had not developed properly. He needed an operation to repair this. Eight hours later the family was moved to a different hospital and Morgan underwent major surgery. The doctors later found out he also had other complications: a spinal cord deformity and a brain formation disorder called lissencephaly and dandy walker variant. After three months he was able to come home. Three years later, Morgan doesn't let his disabilities stop him.
1332 gr. / 29 weeks + 4 days
Rory John was born at 28 weeks. He spent eight weeks in the NICU – the hardest and longest eight weeks of his family‘s life. But the amazing staff at the hospital made the little boy strong and gave him the best start in life. Rory left the hospital weighing more than twice his birth weight. Now he is a happy and cheeky boy who loves food and jumping in his jumperoo.
1162 gr. / 28 weeks