A baby girl has been welcomed home by her Arizona family, almost six months after she was born at just 24 weeks gestation.
Little Kallie Bender weighed less than a single pound when she was born in May with accompanying complications. As a result of her ill health, she spent 150 days in the neonatal intensive care unit and required a heart procedure. Her parents, Ebonie and Dameon, traveled forty minutes every day to see their precious little baby in the hospital. Now, finally, they can have her home.
“We’ve come such a long way and, coming here every day, I see faces every day and I’m going to miss seeing those,” her mother said, according to LifeNews. “But it’s sweet because I don’t have to make this commute anymore.”
Now weighing seven pounds, Kallie still relies on an oxygen tank and feeding tube but is doing well and going from strength to strength each day. “She’s a feisty girl,” Bender told Good Morning America.
Dr. Vinit Manuel, medical director of the nursery intensive care unit (NICU) at Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, told GMA that Kallie’s parents were extremely involved in her care at every turn — something he says is of vital importance when premmie babies are in the first stages of life.
“They were by her bedside, reading to her. It’s not possible to quantify, but research shows it’s very important for the baby’s development,” he explained.
“We’re thrilled that after nearly five months Kallie is going home with the family,” added Becky Cole, one of Kallie’s primary nurses. “We’ve loved being able to watch her grow and are excited for her to celebrate many milestones in the future with her parents and brothers.”
Speaking to AZ Central, Dr. Manuel added that the details of all babies born at such an early stage are recorded — safe to say Kallie is part of an elite club! “Just to tell you briefly about babies who are born so small, there is something called a tiny baby registry and worldwide there are about 225 babies in that registry since 1936,” he said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2018, some 1 in 10 babies were born preterm.
The categories for preterm babies, as detailed by the Mayo Clinic, are as follows:
- Late preterm, born between 34 and 36 completed weeks of pregnancy
- Moderately preterm, born between 32 and 34 weeks of pregnancy
- Very preterm, born at less than 32 weeks of pregnancy
- Extremely preterm, born at or before 25 weeks of pregnancy
As such, Kallie would have been placed in the most high-risk bracket, making her survival even more astonishing. Pray for both the little one and her family as they continue to recover from this traumatic time.