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A NURSE AT SHARP MARY BURCH HOSPITAL FOR WOMEN & NEWBORNS GETS A FINAL PHOTO WITH SAYBIE BEFORE THE BABY HEADS HOME. (PHOTO COURTESY SHARP HEALTHCARE)
A NURSE AT SHARP MARY BURCH HOSPITAL FOR WOMEN & NEWBORNS GETS A FINAL PHOTO WITH SAYBIE BEFORE THE BABY HEADS HOME. (PHOTO COURTESY SHARP HEALTHCARE)

Miracle baby

The world’s tiniest surviving baby heads home from the hospital

By WITW Staff on May 30, 2019

A baby girl who weighed just 8.6 ounces at birth has been released from a hospital in San Diego. Known only as “Saybie,” the nickname given to her by hospital staff, she is believed to be the tiniest surviving baby in the world, according to NPR.

When she was 23 weeks into her pregnancy, Saybie’s mother was diagnosed with preeclampsia, a life-threatening complication. Doctors told her that the baby would have to be delivered immediately.

“I kept telling them she’s not going to survive, she’s only 23 weeks,” the mother, who has not made her name public, said in a video released by the Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns.

Babies are typically born after 40 weeks of pregnancy. Those delivered before 28 weeks are known as “micro-preemies,” and their “survival rate is greatly compromised,” according to the hospital. After Saybie was born, her mother said in the video, the baby’s father was told he would have an hour to spend with the infant before she died. “But that hour turned into two hours, which turned into a day, which turned into a week,” the mother said.

Saybie’s birth weight — which was about the same as a large apple, the hospital said — was the lowest registered with the Tiniest Babies Registry, which is maintained by the University of Iowa. Saybie weighed seven grams less than the previous record holder, a baby girl born in Germany in 2015.

Edward Bell of the University of Iowa told NPR that it is possible that even smaller babies than Saybie have survived. “The registry contains only those infants submitted and medically confirmed,” he explained. “We cannot rule out even smaller infants who have not been reported to the registry.”

After a five-month stay in the hospital, Saybie was discharged weighing five pounds. Before she went home, nurses placed a little graduation cap on her head.

Saybie’s mother said the birth was the “scariest day” of her life. But the experience was ultimately “beautiful,” she said.

“She is the smallest baby,” the mother said. “But she’s mine.”

Read the full story at NPR.

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