Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The tiniest bundle of joy

The survival of this girl is a miracle to me.

Her parents named her Amillia - which means resilient in Latin, a fighter and hardworking - to reflect her survival against the odds.

She weighed 10 ounces (284 grams) at birth, one month earlier than the date considered viable for most babies, at just 21 weeks and six days gestation. Babies under 14 ounces were thought to stand no chance of survival. Amillia spent a little under 22 weeks in her mother's womb, a world record according to the University of Iowa which keeps track of premature babies born throughout the world. Babies who go to full term are born at 37 to 40 weeks. Initially, doctors held little hope for her survival. She measured just 9.5in (241mm), about the length of a ballpoint pen. Amillia was breathing without assistance and even made several attempts to cry when she emerged.

For a short video clip, click on Watch Amillia at 22 weeks at this link (same as above).

She was supposed to go home yesterday but her doctors are said to worry about possible infections and say they want to keep her a little longer in the hospital. "She's like a real baby now," her mother, 37-year-old teacher Sonja Taylor, told the Miami Herald. "Now I can feel her when I hold her."

Against all odds

Amillia Taylor shouldn't be alive. She was born at less than 22 weeks - in the US, where babies aren't considered 'viable' until 23 weeks. But her desperate mother lied to doctors about how far gone she was, and Amillia is now the most premature baby to have ever survived. Aida Edemariam reports on her extraordinary story and asks: should we be saving such tiny babies? ... You hope everything will turn out fine, of course you do: but you already know you love this baby anyway, and you know that nothing is going to change that. Not a doctor's grim predictions today; not a teacher's pessimistic evaluation tomorrow; not the fact that your friends' babies can do more, and earlier. You have that one, precious person and the world will be brighter and better because of it. ...
A thoughtful article

My best wishes go out to this little and very brave creature. I sincerely hope she continues to beat the odds.

Previous tiny babies:

The smallest on record in 2003 was a US baby who weighed just 11 ounces at birth. Twenty years ago, approximately 20% of babies weighing less than 1,000 grammes (2lb 2oz) at birth survived, compared with 80% today.